The Humble Nasi Lemak

What are the components of a balanced, nutritious meal? According to health experts, a healthy meal would have the following items:

Proteins:

Proteins are the building blocks for healthy muscles, skin and hair. They also contribute to normal chemical reactions within your body. Meats are complete sources of protein, containing the nine essential amino acids required for human health. No one vegetable provides all of the required essential amino acids; so you need to eat a combination of vegetables in order to obtain them.

Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are a primary source of energy. They are divided in two categories: simple carbohydrates, which digest quickly; and complex carbohydrates, which digest slowly. Sources of simple carbohydrates include fruits, sugars, white rice and flour. Complex carbohydrates are found in green or starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils. Dietary fiber is another form of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down and instead passes through the body undigested. It however, helps to regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check.

Fats:

Fats have a double-edge reputation. Despite the general belief that fats are bad for you, a fat-free diet would kill you! Your body requires fats to synthesize fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D. Fats are divided into saturated and unsaturated (include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats. Nuts, olives and avocados are sources of monounsaturated fat. Fish and seafood are primary sources of polyunsaturated fat. Too much saturated fat, found in butter, cheese, and red meat, can be bad for your health. Intake of saturated fats should be limited to no more than 16 grams daily, while Trans-fats (unsaturated fats engineered to have the stable characteristic of saturated fat) are to be avoided.

Vitamins and minerals:

Many vitamins are essential for health and examples include vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, K and folate. Vitamin deficiency can cause osteoporosis, scurvy, a weakened immune system, premature aging and even certain cancers. Consuming too much of a vitamin can also result in serious toxicity, such as vitamin B-6 or vitamin A. Many fruits and vegetables have high vitamin content. Minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, iodine and chromium are essential for human health. Deficiencies can result in serious health conditions such as brittle bones and poor blood oxygenation. Like vitamins, overdosing on minerals can result in life threatening conditions; a potassium overdose can cause improper kidney function. Minerals are found in a variety of foods including dairy and meat products.

Water:

The most underrated item in a healthy diet. The human body is composed of between 60 percent to 70 percent water. As such, water, is fundamental in maintaining proper bodily functions.

Nasi lemak, with all its unhealthy connotations, surprisingly provides the essential components of a balanced meal. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals are all found in the humble Nasi Lemak.

The original version of a Nasi Lemak would typically have the following items: rice cooked in coconut milk, a sambal (cooked blended chili and onions), fried anchovies (Ikan Bilis), hard-boiled egg, and sliced cucumbers.

While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol, eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate. Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption-up to one a day-does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals and can be part of a healthy diet (1. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999; 281:1387-94. 2. Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006; 9:8-12.) Anchovies (Ikan Bilis) are also a source of protein, calcium and iron.

Rice is a good source of carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent, proteins. White rice is highly refined, polished, and stripped of its bran(seed coat) and germ(embryo). This is done to increase its cooking quality, shelf life, and taste, but unfortunately, it comes at the cost of reduced nutritional value. Brown rice is an intact whole grain, containing both the bran and the germ. For this reason, brown rice contains more fiber than white rice. Being the most nutritious parts of the grain, the bran and germ are rich in fiber and several vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. White rice may cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar, making them unsuitable for diabetics. Therefore, for a healthier alternative, choose brown rice.

The use of coconut milk (Santan) has been the main item of contention when it comes to Nasi Lemak. Coconuts contain saturated fat, but the fat that they provide is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs), in particular, one called lauric acid. It is converted in the body into a highly beneficial compound called monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial that destroys a wide variety of disease causing organisms. It is now thought that consumption of coconut milk may help protect the body from infections and viruses.

Cucumbers are a good source of insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, and can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. It is a good source of potassium and has high amounts of vitamin K.

There you have it. Nasi Lemak’s contentious reputation is unfounded. On top of its nutritional values, Nasi lemak’s liberal use of chili in its Sambal also has other benefits. According to an article published on Aug 4, 2015 by Harvard School Of Public Health, “People who eat spicy foods nearly every day have a 14% chance of living longer than those who consume spicy foods less than once a week, according to a new study. Regular spicy food eaters also are less likely to die from cancer and heart and respiratory diseases than those who eat spicy foods infrequently.”

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10 Mouth-Watering Street Foods in Mumbai

Mumbai people love food and life and that can be clearly seen in the way they cook food. From pani puris to kebabs, Mumbai is a city of millions of street venders.

Given below is the list of my favorite street food in Mumbai: –

Pani Puri

If you love having a combination of sweet and sour food, then Mumbai Pani puri is the best you can have. In this the vendors use a crisp fried sphere in which the filling of potato, chickpeas and sprouts is done. After that they dunk it into a liquid that is a blend of exotic ingredients such as Tamarind, Jaggery, Mint and spices.

It tastes fantastic and you have to eat it whole in one go.

Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji is a finger-licking dish that you can find easily on the Mumbai streets. Thick Vegetable Masala is served with fluffy rolls that smells and tastes amazing. I like my Pav Bhaji served with extra butter and lemon juice.

Skewered Kebabs

Skewered Kebabs hanging from smoking stalls is a mouth-watering sight. You just cannot not have them whenever you visit Mumbai. Tender beef seekh kebabs are must have for every food lover.

Vada Pav

Vada Pav is the signature dish of Mumbai. It is a dish that is a favorite of almost every Mumbaikar. It is basically a potato patty that is mashed with exotic, garlic and coriander. It is then dipped in chickpea floor and fried golden.

This Vada is then placed between a Pav that is well buttered. Vada Pav is served best with green chutney.

Bhel Puri

It is one of the most common street food of Mumbai that is crunchy and sweet and sour in taste. It is a mixture of puffed rice, chopped onion and tomato, and tamarind chutney. It tastes amazing and should be eaten while strolling on the beach for best experience.

Masala Kheema Pav

If you love minced meat, then it is a must have when you visit Mumbai. It is super tasty and spicy.

Chicken Tikka Rolls

Chicken Tikka Rolls tastes best when served hot. Many street vendors sell these rolls and you cannot have your fill of them as they are so delicious.

Channa Bhatura

Channa Bhathura is amazing and spicy in taste. One plate of Channa Bhatura is enough for an individual. Have it with a sweet lassi.

Dosa

Dosa is a south Indian dish, but it is also very commonly sold on the streets of Mumbai. They are available in different varieties and are very delicious.

Kala Khatta

Kala Khatta is a must on a hot summer day. Available in different flavors, it is a favorite of children and adults alike.

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Indulge in Some Comfort Food

The most uplifting thing in this world is the sight of a delicious plate of food. Whether you are down in the dumps, had a break up, facing too many problems or are just hit by a massive bout of sadness, nothing beats the blue like cuddling up in your warmer and gorging on some comfort food. Such sort of food always carries a sentimental value that is deeply cherished by the person and evokes nostalgia of a happier time. For many comfort food is generally the food that they connect with childhood memories and it reminds them of homely comfort and safety. There is an array of food stuff that falls into this bracket such as the mac and cheese, a common dish that is widely eaten in every household and has been a part of everyone’s growing up years. Being a simple dish it is fairly easy to make and can be cooked in a few minutes, a traditional form of macaroni and cheese is baked in a casserole but it can also be made in a sauce pan on the stove.

Whether it is craving or comfort, nothing satiates us like some deep fried food. After a hard day at work when we finally draw into the comfort of our living room and can finally be ourselves, far away from the worries and tension plaguing us, then nothing feels more fulfilling than digging into some succulent, juicy and crispy chicken. Also who can turn down a warm bowl of comfort food during cold winter nights? Piping hot chicken and dumplings is a classic for which you don’t need any excuse to dig into. This sinfully delightful dish can provide warmth, nourishment and a lot of happiness, all in a humble bowl.

The current fad of staying healthy and being careful about food has all of us thinking and over analyzing every bite that we take. Being too afraid to pile up calories and focusing on staying thin has all of us cutting down on our favorite food. While it is good to be healthy and to watch what we eat, it is absolutely understandable to crave food that may not be helping us shed the pounds but would make us feel good about ourselves and our day temporarily. Even dieticians recommend cheating once in a while and giving into our cravings. Not only is it a good stress buster but it also elevates our good mood. So next time you feel the like savoring an old favorite dish, do so without a hint of guilt.

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All About Food Ingredients

When you are buying food in your local stores the first thing that you look at is the ingredients.

Function of the food ingredients

The food manufacturers have many reasons why they add the ingredients. Some of these reasons include:

To keep the food safe and fresh: The ingredients used in serving this role are preservatives. They prevent spoilage of the food thus reducing the risk of you suffering from foodborne diseases.

To improve the texture of the food: I’m sure that you have noticed that most of the food you get from your local store has a better texture than the one that you prepare yourself. This is due to the addition of the ingredients. The ingredients added include: thickeners, emulsifiers, leavening agents and stabilizers. The additives give food a light airy texture that feels great on the tongue.

The additives improve taste: Spices, sweeteners, and other flavors enhance the taste of food thus you enjoy eating it.

The additives aid in improving appearance: Natural and artificial food colors improve the appearance of plain foods such as juices, cheese, and yogurts.

Common food ingredients

There are many additives that can be used in food but there are some that are more common than others. The most common additives include:

Flavors: They include both natural and artificial flavors. The most common are: salt, citric acid, butter flavoring, methyl salicylate, vanilla extract and vanillin. The flavors are heavily used in cereals, soft drinks, dressings, yogurt, and bread. The additives provide a bitter flavor that neutralizes the sweet flavors that are common in beverages.

Food colors: Food colors offset the color loss that takes place when the food is exposed to light. They also enhance the colors that occur naturally in food. The most common food colors that you will find in most foods are: caramel coloring, beta carotene, and annatto extract. The additives are common in yogurts, fruit spreads, candles, cheese, snack foods, and pudding.

Sweeteners: They add sweetness to food and beverages without interfering with the original food texture. Common sweeteners are high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucrose, honey, agave, and nectar. You will find the additives in dressings, maple syrup, cereals, juice concentrates, desserts, and molasses.

Conclusion

This is what you need to know about the common food ingredients and their roles. While the additives are harmless to many people there are some people that react to them. If you one of the people who are affected by the ingredients you should avoid foods containing them.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9577330