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    Foods

    Acai - The Proposed Miracle Superfood

    Jun 26, 2022 |
    Acai has taken America, amongst other countries, by storm. New acai berry products have emerged almost over night, being touted as a cure-all superfood. These claims include weight loss assistance, disease reversal, cancer prevention, skin and appearance enhancement, and energy boosting. Such claims create quite a bit of hope and optimism; however, they are not supported by enough research as of yet. What we do know, on the other hand; is that even though the acai berry may not be the magic food it has been claimed to be, it is an absolutely healthy choice of food that does have many benefits.   The acai fruit is a berry similar in appearance to that of a blueberry, and it grows on the acai palm tree in Central and South America, primarily along the Amazon River. This small berry has an edible pulp around a large seed and is typically purple in color. This fruit contains many anthocyanins and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that help defend the body from detrimental free radicals and life’s stressors. Anthocyanin is a word derived from two Greek words: plant and blue. It is responsible for the red, purple, and blue hues in many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The foods that are richest in these antioxidants are also the richest in color, such as blueberries, acai berries, red grapes and red wine; typically reflecting a dark purple or even close to black color. Studies have shown that acai berries are higher in antioxidants than most other foods including: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and even blueberries.   While free radicals can ultimately cause damaging destruction on the body, they are fought off by antioxidants. Stress, pollutants, unhealthy foods, and other natural imbalances increase free radicals which can lead to heart disease and even cancer. They typically create a domino effect by stealing healthy electrons on the body and causing more cells to turn into free radicals. They also cause oxidative stress in the body, an effect similar to that of rust on a car. Because of this, antioxidants are much needed to maintain a healthy body.     Acai berries also contain 19 different amino acids, making up approximately 7.5% of the berry’s weight. Amino acids act as building blocks for proteins, and acai berries pack a healthy 8grams of protein in each 100gram serving. Acai berries are also rich with many nutritional vitamins: vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C and E are all present, in addition to magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and zinc. There are 3 known plant sterols found in acai, which are attributed to the proper health of heart and digestive functions. As well, acai is a great source of healthy Omega fats with nearly 50% of the berry being fat, and 74% of that fat coming from healthy unsaturated fats such as Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. This fruit is also a good source of fiber.   Nutritionally, it seems the acai berry has it all. Highly important vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, amino acids, omegas, and vital antioxidants are all packed into these tiny tasty berries. When considering the overall effects of these powerful assets, it is fair to say that the acai berry is, indeed, the perfect choice for a superfood. There may not be tests that directly correlate the berry with specific disease-oriented cures, however; basing a healthy lifestyle of proper diet and exercise is a key to a healthy life in general. Forging that diet to include the potency of acai berries will surely optimize health and ensure the deliverance of many positive effects. The strength and well being promoted by acai berries has long been appreciated. Though they are not in any way a magical food, they really are just shy of little miracles thanks to all the amazing components they consist of. So, indulge happily. Acai, to your health.   ...

    Eat your Veggies! Simple Cooking Methods

    Jun 21, 2022 |
    Vegetables add colour, taste, texture and bulk to our daily diet. There are dozens of different vegetables that can be prepared in literally hundreds of ways. So what's best? There is no best. The thing to do is to eat your vegetables, lots of them, everyday in a wide variety of ways and stop worrying about the preparation methods. Variety is the key... Raw Many vegetables taste fabulous just the way they are straight out of the garden. Lettuce, tomato, celery, cabbage, onion, radish, carrot are obvious choices here. But they are just as likely to find themselves next to chopped up broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans and zucchini on a starter platter with dips. Wash 'em, chop 'em and eat 'em. Oh, yeah, you could also make a salad! Steamed Steaming heats the vegetable and softens it's texture. It's gentler than boiling and allows the vegetable to maintain it's colour if not overdone. Use a stainless steel steamer that will fit into most good size sauce pans. Make sure you use a pan with a tight fitting lid. There should be enough water to just touch the bottom of the steamer. Water should be simmering the whole time the vegetables are being cooked. Boiling Boiling vegetables is really going out of fashion, but it's a legitimate preparation method! The big concern is loss of nutrients. All cooking methods result in the loss of some goodness from the vegetables. If boiling, try to find a way to use the water the vegetables have been boiled in (i.e. to make a gravy or sauce) to bring those nutrients back to the table. Vegetables should be barely covered with water. Bring the water to a boil (covered) then slow to a simmer until vegetables are tender. Microwave Very popular for vegetables as it retains colour, flavour and nutrients. Trial and error will be your guide with microwaving as there are plenty of variables involved. However, a few guidelines will help...The more food you put into the oven, the longer it will take to cook. Underestimate your cooking time rather than overestimate. Undercooked food can be cooked some more. Over-cooked food is ruined. Food straight from the fridge will take longer to cook than that at room temperature. All food continues to cook after it has been removed from the microwave oven. It is part of the cooking process and should be taken into account to prevent over-cooking. Stir Fry Very rapid method of quick frying vegetables, meat (optional) and sauces in one pan to make a meal. Primarily associated with Asian cooking. The key to doing this well is preparation. All items to be cooked should be chopped to a size that will allow them to cook quickly in the wok. It is also important that the wok is heated to a high, consistent temperature throughout. Vegetables maintain their colour and crispness with this sort of cooking (if not overdone). Baking Brilliant! Especially for those 'root' vegetables like potatoes, turnip, carrot and beetroot. Chop into similar size pieces, brush lightly with olive oil and put in a hot oven to roast. Size of the pieces will determine the cooking time but expect at least 40 minutes. Outside is chewy, inside is moist and fluffy. Dress with sour cream and chives. Yum! Barbeque Does anything scream summer like the word barbeque? Love a barbeque. This is primarily open flame cooking, so could apply to a campfire as well. Cooking outside just changes everything about food. You'll need foil, fire and fresh veggies. Grease your foil, chop your veggies and put the closed packages on the grill. Be adventurous, it's really hard to mess this up!  No Dig Vegetable Gardens represents a clean, green way to grow your own food. all aspects of growing, cooking and preserving your harvest. ...