Benefits of Bael or Wood Apple

Wood apple, also known as bel, is a tropical fruit that is native to India. It is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Wood apple has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions.

Some of the health benefits of wood apple include:

  • Improves digestion: Wood apple is a good source of fiber, which is essential for digestive health. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly and can help to prevent constipation.
  • Boosts immunity: Wood apple is a good source of vitamin C, which is an important nutrient for the immune system. Vitamin C helps to protect the body from infection and can help to shorten the duration of illness.
  • Lowers blood pressure: Wood apple is a good source of potassium, which is a mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure. Potassium helps to balance the effects of sodium in the body and can help to lower blood pressure.
  • Reduces inflammation: Wood apple is a good source of antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a major factor in many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
  • Treats respiratory problems: Wood apple has expectorant properties, which means that it helps to loosen mucus in the respiratory tract. This can be helpful for people with conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and coughs.
  • Treats diarrhea and dysentery: Wood apple has antidiarrheal properties, which means that it can help to stop diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common problem, especially in children, and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as infection, food poisoning, and medication side effects.
  • Treats piles and ulcers: Wood apple has astringent properties, which means that it can help to tighten tissues. This can be helpful for people with piles and ulcers, which are conditions that can cause pain and bleeding.
  • Improves skin health: Wood apple is a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells, leading to premature aging and the development of wrinkles and age spots.
  • Improves hair health: Wood apple is a good source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair health, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. These nutrients can help to keep hair strong, healthy, and shiny.

Wood apple is a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh, cooked, or juiced. It can also be used to make a variety of other products, such as chutneys, pickles, and candies. Wood apple is a safe and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Chillies and their Spiciness

Chillies are an inseparable constituent of any cooked vegetable and meats. The spiciness adds to the taste of vegetables and meats. It is also a fact that chillies are very rich in vitamin C, Magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, and potassium and have very good health benefits.Degree of spiciness or the heat of a chilli will be directly proportional to its capsaicin content. The sensation also masks the taste of other chemicals present in the chillies for a while.

The Scoville scale is a measurement of pungency (spiciness or “heat”) of chili peppers and other substances, recorded in Scoville heat units (SHU), based on the concentration of capsaicinoids, among which capsaicin is the predominant component. Capsaicin is a chemical which is an irritant and neurotoxins for animals including humans. It induces a burning sensation in the tissue which comes in its contact.

The chillies should be enjoyed in the other recipes not by themselves. Ingesting the chillies with very high SHU will induce sweating, nausea, watery eyes and vomiting. If ingested and reaction is too much, then drinking cold milk is the solution to alleviate the condition. Water on the other hand spreads the capsaicin and causes more problems.

Scoville heat units have been measured of almost all the chilli peppers occuring around the world. Bell Peppers which don’t have any capsaicin in them are sir at Zero or the bottom of the scale. Extreme hot chillies are Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and 7 pot douglah having SHU values around 1.5 to 2.2 million. You can imagine how hot these are when Jalapenos with SHU around 2000 to 8000 feel so fiery for us. While many varities with extreme heat are naturally growing some are being genetically modified.

In India the extreme hot variety is Naga chilli also called Bhoot Jhalokia found in the North East states of Assam and Nagaland. From the chart you can see that their SHU is around 1 million.

Full scale of many chillies is given in the following chart taken from the website Scoville Scale.

Mulberries: Super Fruit

In the month of spring that is March, the mulberry trees are laden with both reddish black and white fruits. These berries are filled with nutrients rich fluids. The fruits have short life and tend to fall to the ground as soon as you shake the branches. The season span is very small about 25 days.

There are many trees in the forest near our home where I go daily and enjoy the berries packed with nutrients picking directly from the branches.

The mulberry trees are related to the family of figs and bread fruit trees. The scientific name of the fruit is Morus Alba. In Asia, the trees are grown to provide leaves for Silkworms.

The popularity of the mulberries is increasing due to their sweet flavour, high nutritional composition which provide many health benefits.

Berries are mostly water. These provide only 60 calories in a cup containing 140 gram berries. Fresh mulberries consist of 9.8% carbohydrates which are mostly good sugars like glucose and fructose, but also contain some starch and fiber. Fiber is 75% insoluble in form.

The mulberries are a rich source of vitamin C, iron, vitamin K, Potassium and Vitamin E which is an antioxidant .

Other very important nutrients from the health point of view are Anthocyanin which prevents the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol. So it is good for heart health. Cyanidin is responsible for the purple colour in the berries.

Mulberries contain Rutin a powerful antioxidant which helps in combating heart ailments, cancer and diabetes. Similarly there is myricetin which also fights cancer.

In all, the mulberries are good for health yummy food provided by the nature.

Bitter Melon!??

Karela aka Bitter gourd is bitter but it is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Bitter gourd contains iron, magnesium, vitamins, and potassium. The calcium and potassium content in it is twice that of spinach and banana.

https://www.organicauthority.com/live-grow/why-bitter-melon-needs-to-be-in-both-your-garden-and-your-kitchenter
Bitter Melon

Are you surprised to know that it is not a vegetable but a fruit. It belongs to the family of Melons which are known for their sweetness and are popular all over the world. It is called “BITTER MELON

melonshttps://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2021/07/19/melons-tips-watermelon-cantaloupe-honeydew/

Karela is a native of Indian subcontinent and now it has been established that it contains a insulin like compound polypeptide-p which helps in regulating the blood sugar.

Karela contains potassium which helps to reduce the blood pressure by replacing some of the sodium responsible for increasing blood pressure.

It improves the skin and hair. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C.


Even USA is going to take its farming in a big way recognising it’s benefits.

https://sakasaka.net/bitter-melon-juices-7-health-benefits.html

Perhaps when God was distributing goodness to the family of Melons, all the sweetness was bestowed upon its brothern. It was feeling sad as it’s taste was very bitter and it was ruing the fact that due to the bitter taste nobody will like it.

But God blessed it and said “My son, I can’t make you sweet but i will bless you with so many nutrients and medicinal properties that you will outshine all your siblings and become a darling of the human beings”

Tea Eggs!!

Tea is the most popular beverage all over the world. Although tea is grown mainly in China and India, it is relished by people all around the globe.

Many variations of traditional steeped variety exist depending upon the innovations done locally. For example, in India people like to drink milk tea. Then there are spicy teas lik ginger tea and cardamom tea.

Tea

Tea has been said to be good for health as it contains many antioxidants like flavonoids. Beverage is addictive in nature that’s why whole world craves for it in the morning.

Now Eggs.

Eggs are also consumed all over the world. Mostly hen eggs are eaten. Eggs are very nutritious full of protein, calcium, vitamin A, iron and phosphorus. They are very easy to prepare even by a novice. These are eaten in many forms like simple boiled eggs, omelettes, in egg curry. Eggs are in essential ingredient in various cake preparations, coatings of food, trapping air in many preparations to give volume and fluffiness.

What are Tea Eggs then?

These originated in China as evening snack. The are also called Marble Eggs. In most simple terms the boiled eggs with small perforations in the shell are steeped in tea liqueur. Many other ingredients like Star Anise, Ginger, soy sauce, cinnamon are also added to spice up.

Tea Eggs

The steeping liquor is made by boiling these ingredients in water and cooled down.

The eggs are hard boiled which take about 7 minutes time. They are removed from hot boiling water and immediately put into freezing bath to stop further cooking.

When these are at room temperature, the eggs are tapped at different places lightly with a spoon to create cracks avoiding the detaching the shell portions. After these these are soaked in the tea liqueur prepared earlier.

After about 24 hours, the shells are removed. The eggs become dyed with the liqueur color. They look like marbles. And are ready to be eaten.

Recipes:

There are a number of recipe pages on the internet. For example the following link.

https://images.app.goo.gl/CSwpPJEgLv1gB7am8

Simply Mind Boggling

Scientists speculate that all the fundamental particles were created from the energy immediately after the Big Bang event in which Universe was formed.

Then these atoms combined in different permutations and combinations and molecules were born. Context of immediately in the cosmic events is not similar to the usual terms with which define our world. It may be millions of years.

Earth was formed but its climate was not like the present day. There was no life except one algae namely “Blue Algae” known in the scientific language as “Cyanobacteria” where “Cyano” stands for blue color.

It thrived in the water which occupied 70% surface of the Earth. All around in the atmosphere was carbondioxide and metals existed in the solution form because there was no oxygen to react with them and precipitate them as ores. Iron was the most abundant of them. So this was the scene about 3.5 billions of years ago.

How did these small living beings sustain themselves? Where from did they get the energy? .

They developed the photosynthesis and harvested the energy of Sun. They also did much of the chemistry which resulted in critically changing the composition of gases in the atmosphere. They learned to break the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

They then used the hydrogen along with carbon dioxide to make carbohydrates which are the store house of energy. The oxygen gas which was generated was very reactive and reacted with the metal ions especially iron species and got fixed up and ores were formed.

This went on for millions of years. Iron acted as a perfect sink for oxygen which was poison for these bacteria themselves because they thrived in the anaerobic conditions.

But a stage reached when no more free iron ions were available. So the concentration of oxygen began building up in the atmosphere and setting a stage in which the new species of life which use oxygen for breathing to evolve.

The life started in the real earnest. The oxygen content stabilized at about 20% by volume in the air. Carbon dioxide has very small percentage. So these humble microbes were responsible for the life as we see today on this Earth.

The algae learned to live with the existing conditions.

How big is the cyanobacteria? It has been estimated that its diameter is about 2 microns if we consider it as a sphere which it is not. But for the sake of simplicity and bring home the point as is done in all the scientific inquiry let us assume that. Such a small size !!

But is it really small in comparison to the smaller things nature can go to. Let us compare it to the size of carbon atom. If we calculate the volume of bacteria and volume of carbon atom, and calculate how many atoms of carbon can fit into the bacteria, you shall be surprised that a mind boggling 1000000000000 atoms is the answer. You are in for more surprise if you go down to fundamental particles like electrons and leptons.

So this is the scale at which the machinery of the Nature works. On one side are the atomic sized particles and on the other are gigantic stars. But one thing is sure that at the base of everything are the fundamental particles. It is also a fact that things behave very differently on the different scale levels. Electrons can behave as particles under one set of conditions and as a wave in the diffraction experiments. Or they may be behaving as they are but with our existing knowledge  we try to explain the things the way which give reasonable answers.

So let us salute to the “Cyanobacteria” to create favorable conditions for the existing worlds to forms and initiation of the diverse kinds of species on this Earth.

Mango : The King of Fruits

Hiuen Tsang, Chinese scholar after being in India is going back. Time AD 627-643, on the fabled Silk Route. Apart from his knowledge of Buddhism, his rucksack contains an extraordinary fruit called Mango.

The name in hindi AaM is derived from Sanskrit word AMRA which seems to be the loan word from Dravidian and is related to Tamil words for Mango like “mamaram”. Portuguese were responsible for transferring the name to the West. It is growing in India since 4000 years at least.

Moguls were great connoisseurs of the fruit. Akbar got 100000 mango trees planted in Lakhi Bagh (Lakhi: 100,000, Bagh means Garden) near Darbhanga Bihar India. Others who relished the fruit were Shahjahan and Noor Jehan, Aurangzeb, Sher Shah Suri. Raghunath Peshwa got large numbers planted all over Maharashtra.

Main Constituents:

Citric acid and related compounds are responsible for sour taste. Several terpenes have been found in unripe fruit..

Ripe mango contains volatile compounds like alpha terpineol, ocimene, limonene, 3-carene etc. Yellow colour is due to beta Carotene.

Nutrients

Mangoes are rich in potassium, about 8% carbohydrate with 1.6 % dietary fibre. Very rich in vitamin A , C, B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Some famous Indian Varieties:

1: Alphonso or Hapoos
King among the mangoes. Named after Portugal admiral D Afonso de Albuquerque. Deogad in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra has got the GI tag of genuineness.

2: Dasehri
It is birth place is Malihabad in Lucknow. Soft, succulent and mild.

3: Banarasi Langda
It was born in an orchard belonging to a Langda (lame) fellow and thus got this name.

4: Himsagar
Fibre less, creamy and full of pulp. Pride of Murshidabad in West Bengal.

5: Fazli
Quite big in size, famous in Malda of West Bengal. Late maturing.

6: Chaunsa:
From Bihar. Full of Flavour. It is pressed into mouth and juice is sucked.

7: Gulab Khaas
Native of Jharkhand. It is graceful mango

8: Kesar

Aromatic fruit of Junagadh Gujarat. Giving a tough fight to Hapoos. Plantations are on foothills of mount Girnar.

9: Bedmi:

Taste depends upon the plucking time.

10. Totapuri: it is abundant in southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

11: Sindoori: it gets its name from the vermillion colour of the skin.

12: Banganapalli/ Bagan Phali/ Safeda
From Andhra’s small town Banganapalli. Sweet, yellow and fibre less.

13: Himam Pasand/ Humayun Pasand
A cross made from Banganapalli and Malgoa. It is very popular in Deccan.

14: Chandrakaran: it is delicacy from Kerala. Sweet and sour. Quite costly.

Elements necessary for humans

At present there are 118 elements listed in the periodic table. Some of these elements are commonly found on the earth in the form of ores. Some are radioactive and have very short half lives. Many such elements have been synthesized in the laboratory and live for a very short time.

Human body like other things existing is made of compounds which are made from the elements. Out of these 118 only some elements are connected with the human body. Although elements as such don’t make up the body it is the combined form that is molecules constitute the human body. But elemental composition is as follows by mass.

Oxygen: 65%

Carbon: 18%

Hydrogen: 10%

Nitrogen: 3%

Other elements: 4%

Other elements include Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Sodium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Boron, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper,  Fluorine, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Silicon, Tin, Vanadium and Zinc. Although these elements are used in very minor amount, they are crucial to some body processes. These are micronutrients.

An element can perform one or many functions in the body. Elements roles are defined as follows:

Building Blocks

The main building blocks of the body are proteins which are synthesized from amino acids. For these elements used are Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus and Sulphur. DNA also contains these elements except Sulphur. DNA is the genetic code which encodes the instructions.

Enzymes

Enzymes are chemicals which are catalysts for carrying out chemical reactions like breakdown of sugars and other macro molecules. Such enzymes use some elements like Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Selenium and Molybdenum. Enzymes play role in respiration, digestion, metabolism and immune system.

Nerves and Control

Brain sends messages to different parts of the body and this is a two way communication. Electrical signals are carried through electrolytic solutions like brines. Sodium, Potassium and Calcium ions this play the role of transmitting the signals. Similarly Chloride ions regulate the water in and out of cells. Iodine is used to make hormones which regulate metabolism.

Bones and Teeth

Bones make the template on which our body is hoisted. Strong bones and teeth are essential for the healthy body.  Bones and Teeth are made of Calcium and phosphate. Phosphate contains Phosphorus and Oxygen. Manganese element makes more stronger and resistance to breaking.

Blood

Blood is the lifeline of the body. Blood carries oxygen to the cells and removes the carbon-dioxide gas which is the byproduct of combustion reaction. Oxygen is carried by blood due to the presence of iron which binds the Oxygen. Other elements which are constituents of blood are Carbon, Oxygen, Iron and Cobalt. Cobalt is essential to make red blood cells.

Respiration and Energy

Respiration is inhalation of Oxygen. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is formed during respiration which is the compound used by body as energy. Main elements involved here are Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Oxygen. Most prominent sources of energy are Carbohydrates and Fats which contain Carbon, hydrogen and Oxygen elements.

Source: c&en magazine of American Chemical Society (ACS)

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