Posts Tagged ‘olive oil’

Benefits of North African cuisine

Benefits of North African cuisine

Comparable to the Mediterranean diet, North African cuisine is as nutritious as it is highly varied: vegetables, pulses, olive oil, couscous, potatoes, fish and meat. Lemon, herbs and spices are used not only to delicately perfume dishes and give that distinctive taste, but also help to fight against tissue inflammation!

North African cuisine
© Thinkstock

Most people like North African cuisine.  Delicious and easy to prepare, this sun-gorged food happily brings friends and family together around small starters to share and main dishes such as the famous Couscous.  It’s a cuisine to definitely give a try, all the more so as it possesses real health benefits as long as you don’t overdo the oil and avoid fried dishes such as Fatma fingers and brick pastry, lamb and sweet desserts. So go ahead and treat yourself!

Couscous, the star of North African cuisine!

If you don’t know anything else about North African cuisine, you’re bound to have heard of, if not tasted, couscous. A delicious typical dish which can be made a hundred different ways… It’s a meal in itself, containing all food types (wheat semolina, vegetables, pulses, meat and/or fish).

While the basic ingredient in couscous is wheat semolina (also used in many sweet treats), vegetables are also important, with a particularly special role for courgettes, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, celery and turnips. Whether served as a salad, in slow-cooked dishes, or in the sauce served with couscous, vegetables are found in abundance in North African cuisine.

Not forgetting those essential pulses: beans, lentils and chickpeas, also found in many a North African speciality. You’ll also find olive oil everywhere! All the better for our arteries!

Benefits of spices and seasonings

Many spices and herbs are used to enhance the taste of a dish without adding extra calories but providing maximum taste, vitamins and minerals. So don’t hesitate to add coriander, flat parsley, cumin or turmeric (with its anti-inflammatory properties) to your culinary exploits.

Lemon, rich in Vitamin C, has detoxifying, draining and energising properties. However, high blood pressure sufferers should be aware that lemon confit is very salty.

Garlic and onion are known for their anti-cancer properties. Garlic also helps to thin the blood.

And don’t forget raisins which like most dried fruits (prunes, dates, etc.) are a source of fast sugars, potassium and magnesium, useful for sports players. Some couscous recipes include dried fruits.

Also keep olives in mind which you can add to practically all dishes. Chosen both for their unique (but not overly salty) taste and the oleic acid they contain (protects arteries).

Tunisian cuisine, spicy and rich in Omega 3

Substantiated by an age-old tradition of gastronomy, Tunisian cuisine is very elaborate, with various specialities varying depending on the region and ethnic group (Berber, Andalusian, Jewish or Arabic cuisine). In Tunisia, couscous includes fish, sardines and mackerel in particular, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, selenium and Vitamin D.

You cannot talk about Tunisian cuisine without mentioning Harissa!  This spicy chilli sauce hots up any vegetable broth or in fact any other dish (for example, the classic Harissa kebab). But Harissa doesn’t just spice up dishes; its piquant also has anti-inflammatory properties. Tunisians use this chilli daily in all its forms.

When it comes to starters, we love Mechouia salad – grilled peppers served with tomatoes and a few cloves of garlic, grilled on a wood fire and then seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil, caraway seeds, salt and pepper. The whole is adorned with tuna, boiled eggs and olives. Eggs are also used a lot in this cuisine, often found in brick pastry preparations.

As for a plat de resistance, dare to try couscous with sea bass! Or why not offer your guests a “winter vegetable” version with beans, carrots, potatoes, courgettes, pumpkin, turnips and onions. Such dishes bring together a healthy balanced diet and good food!

Spicy Moroccan cuisine…

Moroccan cuisine is very varied – from couscous, tagine, pastilla, mechoui to other specialities such as tangia or harira. But Moroccan cuisine is known for its originality and wealth, nurtured by the variety of Arabic, Moor, Berber and Spanish influences… Spices are everywhere and mint is often used to add an extra little taste. Among the many specialities, you’ll find easy-to-prepare meatballs with onions (accompanied with a tomato sauce, light but rich in antioxidants) or a tagine prepared in such a way that meat remains tender, without extra fat!

Sweet-salty combinations are an important component of Moroccan cuisine. Nuts such as pistachios and almonds can be found both in sweet and savoury dishes. All the better, as they provide minerals such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and have antioxidant properties.

And mint tea to drink!

Easily digested and rich in antioxidant polyphenols (catechins), mint tea is made using green tea, known for its draining properties. Together with mint, it helps to improve digestion. Drink with as little sugar as possible. From time to time, why not accompany your tea break with a little sweet treat, without it becoming routine – these cakes and sweets charge up the calorie counter no end! (29g of sugar and 39g of fats for every 100g)…


To add extra flavour to your desserts and give them that undeniable North African taste, there’s nothing better than orange blossom essence… Added to warm milk, it helps to promote sleep and is also used in creams and Turkish coffee. It enhances any fruit salad and can also be drunk as a herbal infusion.

When the season is right, the star dessert in the Maghreb region is watermelon! Fresh, juicy, low in sugar, delicious and abundant… watermelon can be eaten at any time of the day and helps to end a copious meal on a light, sweet note. Melon is also enjoyed in this region, as are figs and prickly pears.

10 Beauty benefits of saffron

10 Beauty benefits of saffron

Submitted by NUTANkumarisinha
May 31, 2012 –

Saffron is the most precious spice of this world, which is used in myriad cooking recipes to add an alluring aroma to your favorite cuisines. Saffron is also a big storehouse of many health benefits, which enhance the overall well being of a person. Apart from these amazing qualities, saffron provides a lot of beauty benefits too, which will induce you to use saffron in your beauty routine daily. This article brings you the amazing 10 beauty benefits of saffron. All beauty uses of saffron are very effective and easy to use. Read on to know how to use saffron in your beauty applications.


   Beauty benefits of saffron

1. Take 1 teaspoon of sandalwood power, 2-3 strands of saffron, and 2 spoons of milk. Mix all ingredients together. Prior to applying this face mask, wash your face and wipe with a cloth. Apply this mask when the face is still wet. You can massage your skin thoroughly with this pampering face pack in a circular motion. Let it dry for 20 minutes and then rinse it off. Apply this sandal-saffron mask at least once a week for a radiant and smooth skin.

2. Saffron is teeming with anti-bacterial qualities, which make it ideal for curing acne. Saffron’s exfoliating qualities make it a wonderful aid in clearing and brightening up the complexion.

3. Soak up few stands of saffron in milk for 2 hours. Then smear this milk all over your face and neck. Wash off after few minutes. On continuous use, you skin will start getting fairer naturally.

4. Saffron is an excellent skin lightening agent that helps to lighten your skin tone dramatically. You can make a skin lightening face mask with 2-3 strands of saffron, 1 pinch of sugar , 1 teaspoon of milk, 1 teaspoon of water and 2-3 drops of coconut oil or olive oil. Keep 2-3 strands of saffron in one teaspoon of water overnight. By morning, colour of water will turn yellow. Then add milk,sugar and coconut oil/olive oil to this. Dip a piece of bread in this mixture and wipe your face with this piece of bread. Small pieces of bread can stick to your face but it will come off easily when you wash the face. Keep this mix on your face for 15 minutes. This saffron mask freshens up the dull complexion instantly. It helps to ease off dark circles and fatigue lines. The immediate benefits of applying this nourishing saffron mask is that it helps in blood circulation resulting in a glowing skin.

5. Soak up chirongi (Sunflower seeds) and saffron in milk overnight. Grind this mixture in the morning to apply on your skin. This face mask is very beneficial for making you skin fair and glowing.

6. Massage your face with malai(milk cream) with two strands of saffron added to it. On continuous use ,you will notice fairer and radiant skin all over.

7. If you mix few strands of saffron with milk and drink it regularly, your complexion will improve naturally.

8. You can mix few strands of saffron with olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil to massage your skin. Massaging your face with any of these oils gives lighter and softer skin.

9. You can mix one pinch of saffron with liquorice and milk. Apply this mix on your bald patches; this mask helps to arrest hair fall and promotes the growth of new hair.

10. Apply honey with few strands of saffron added to it. Massage your face with magical face mask that acts as a home facial. It is very powerful home remedy that provides oxygen to the skin stimulating blood circulation. Use this facial mask for getting luminous complexion.

Most ‘extra virgin’ olive oil bottles are actually cheaper mix

Most ‘extra virgin’ olive oil bottles are actually cheaper mix — even Rachael Ray’s
By Mitch Lipka

More than two of every three bottles labeled imported extra virgin olive oil are either a cheaper grade of olive oil or adulterated with another type of oil, a University of California at Davis study found.

Top-selling brands including Bertolli, Filippo Berio, Carapelli, Pompeiian, Colavita, Mazola and Carapelli all had bottles that flunked the test — containing instead a cheaper virgin olive oil, the study by the university’s Olive Center found. Even a brand carrying the name of TV host Rachael Ray — who frequently touts her supposedly extra virgin olive oil — flunked the testing on two of three samples.
The chemical analysis did find that 90% of the California-packaged olive oils were indeed what they claimed to be. Two that were exactly what they claimed to be were Walmart’s Great Value brand and Costco’s Kirkland Organic.

“The intent of the study was to provide consumers and retailers with an accurate picture of the quality of olive oils now being marketed through grocery stores and other retail outlets in California,” Dan Flynn, executive director of the Olive Center, said in statement sent to Consumer Ally. “Our hope is that these findings will lead to improved methods for evaluating extra virgin olive oil, and increased consumer confidence that ‘extra virgin’ on the label means extra virgin in the bottle.”

Flynn said the United States is the world’s third-largest consumer of olive oil.

Consumer Ally contacted several of the largest manufacturers cited in the study, but only one immediately responded to the request to comment on the study. A Colavita official wanted to read the study before discussing.

UPDATE (July 22): Colavita spokeswoman Teresa D’Errico sent the following statement disputing the study:

“The study from the University of California is untrue. This study was paid for by the Califoria olive oil companies, thus there is an inherent conflict of interest and the methodology used is flawed. This was not an objective testing of various olive oils and it is unfortunate that the public believes it without further investigation.”

Pompeiian said they would not comment, but referred to a statement by the North American Olive Oil Association taking issue with the study.

“We sample more than 200 olive oils a year and conduct rigorous chemical analysis through independent labs,” association president Bob Bauer said in the statement. “We’re finding that less than 10 percent of the oils tested have any problems and they, in total, typically represent less than 1 percent of the market. In fact, a condition of membership in the NAOOA is that members must meet the international standard. If our test results show they don’t, they will be removed from the association.”

“The NAOOA is and has been a champion of quality olive oil for decades,” “We continue to take steps to protect consumers, including encouraging regulators at the federal and state level to follow the IOC standards to guarantee consumers a modern standard in identifying and labeling olive oil.”

He added: “The bottom line is that imported olive oils are authentic, high-quality products. They offer many heart-healthy benefits, they are versatile for cooking, and they are a good value.”Importers’ products represent the majority of olive oil available to consumers – 99 percent – and it’s prudent that we uphold the high standards of quality consumers expect. It’s prudent to our industry as well.”

A history of duping consumers believing they’re buying the rich-flavored and often pricey extra virgin olive oil led the federal government to enact more stringent olive oil standards, scheduled to take effect in October. In 2008, Connecticut became the first state to regulate olive oil after finding that some being sold included nut oils or soy oils, which could cause dangerous allergic reactions.

“Before this study, we had anecdotal reports of poor quality olive oil being sold as extra virgin,” Flynn said. “Now there is empirical proof.”

Some of the tests analyzed for problems that would affect flavor — the very essence of extra virgin olive oil. “Many of these oils just did not taste good,” Flynn said.

He cited the following reasons for the oil flunking the tests:

* adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil
* oxidation due to elevated temperature, light and or aging;
* poor-quality oils made from damaged and overripe olives,
* processing flaws or improper oil storage.

See full article from DailyFinance:

Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life

It doesn’t have to be that way! Menopause is a natural part of every woman’s life – and with it brings a freedom that you haven’t felt since you were a little girl! Whether you are experiencing Menopause because of surgery, medication, or just because it’s time, I have several tools that will help you get through it with ease!

During this journey, your body is going through significant change. The importance of adequate rest must be part of your prescription for health. In addition to overall relaxation, frequent bodywork sessions will help your sore back, stress, anxiety, fatigue, sore feet and also headaches. You might find that longer sessions are beneficial. Some women need the extra time to let go and relax, and find that the traditional hour session ends right when they’ve gotten to their most relaxed state. Join my Fan Page and receive updates on special pricing and events!

By now you know that weight bearing exercise is essential to keeping strong bones and lean muscle mass. Exercise can also help to alleviate hot flashes and mood swings. What’s the best exercise treatment for you? That depends on your lifestyle. I work with several women who are seeing great benefit from Pilates classes, while some prefer yoga and still others live in the gym. These days, there’s millions of options out there, from video games such as Wii Fit to Zumba classes, belly dancing and of course just taking the dog out for a brisk walk. The main idea is: get out there and do something!

Experts agree that during this time we are highly susceptible to weight gain and obesity-related illnesses. Because of this, and because our health is so important, we need to eliminate all junk food from our diet. Consuming foods with natural plant estrogens will help. These include but are not limited to: apples, barley, carrots, flax seed, olive oil, papaya, peas, soybeans, tomatoes and yams. In addition, adequate protein is essential. Protein, and an amino acid called Luceine, help you hold on to that lean muscle mass while losing weight, which helps guard against osteoporosis and maintain metabolic rates which normally decrease dramatically during Menopause. Sugar is also a big no-no, but an even bigger temptation. Keep low-glycemic snack options around you such as almonds, and these great snack bars that have 10 grams of protein.

Natural HRT
For years, ‘HRT or Not to HRT’ has filled every conversation having to do with menopause. Rightly so, it’s important no matter what you choose, to do so safely. While I’m not an expert on synthetic hormones, I can tell you about the Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy options that changed my life.

Black Cohosh, as found in this Menopause Balance Complex, has been proven to help regulate hormonal balance. Hot flashes will slow way down, and before you know it, you won’t have them at all. You will sleep better and have better control overall of your Menopausal symptoms.

I can’t live without GLA. Gamma Linolenic Acid helps our body to create prostaglandins – hormone like substances that help regulate many bodily processes such as healthy blood flow, protection of arterial walls, dryness, and improving the immune system. Rich in Omega-6, GLA also helps with hormone-related headaches. GLA has also been reported to reduce the size of fibroids.

Following these suggestions will help you – and if I can help you in any way, please contact me. Wellness Assessments can help us get to the root of your symptoms and feel much, much better!