Priuk’s Weblog

September 19, 2008

TOMATO

Filed under: Health — priuk @ 3:38 pm
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Some people categorize this plant as vegetables, but some others categorize it as fruits. We often make juice from it, but it is also delicious as cooking ingredients. Either way tomatoes own special benefits for human’s health. Find out more about it in the article.

Tomatoes are actually a fruit, not a vegetable because technically they are berries, with seeds, of a plant that bears fruit. However, nutritionally, popularly, and culinary use, they are categorized as a vegetable. It is said that the fruits are originally from Central, South, and southern North America from Mexico to Argentina. With Latin name Licopersicum esculentum, tomatoes are also known as the all-seasons fruit; the kind of fruit that can be found in all seasons.
Tomatoes are available in a wide variety of types, colors, shapes and sizes. Mostly they come in the colors of red, yellow, and green, but they do have variety in other colors. Tomatoes’ sizes range from about 1-2 centimeters in diameter, 4-5 centimeters in diameter, and 10 centimeters or larger. The shapes are usually round, but sometimes come in other shapes, such as the oblong shape of roma tomatoes.

NUTRIENTS AND HEALTH BENEFITS

No matter what the types or varieties are, tomatoes contain almost the same amount of nutritional substances. They are rich with vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, mineral, fiber, and phytonutrient substances. The main content of tomatoes is water (about 94%).

Tomatoes also contain antioxidant. One of the substances contained in tomatoes has been a “hot” topic to talk about. It is the lycopene. This carotenoid found in tomatoes (and products made from tomatoes) has been studied extensively for its antioxidant and cancer preventing properties. Research and studies about lycopene from tomatoes has been conducted repeatedly not only in animals but also in humans. The researches claimed that they had proven the substance can protect body from many kinds of cancers, such as prostate, colorectal, pancreatic, breasts, and lung.

However, this claim has an opposite opinion. Scientists from Food and Drug Administration in United States of America proclaimed that presumption of the lycopene from tomatoes can prevent cancers must be straightened. There is no strong evidence that foods or other intakes contain lycopene, which also the substance responsible for giving the red color to the fruits will reduce the risk of getting exposed to many kinds of cancers. This finding is reported by Dr. Claudine Kavanaugh and her colleagues from The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, College Park, Maryland, in her paperwork that was published on the website of US Cancer institute.

This does not mean that tomatoes have no benefits at all. Related with this issue, another research suggested that there many substances contained in the fruits that can give health benefits for humans, not only the lycopene, for example, the vitamin A and vitamin C found in tomatoes. Public must have aware with the benefits this two vitamins can provide to our health. Tomatoes also contain fiber. Many sources stated how fiber has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels, keep blood sugar levels stable, and help prevent colon cancer.

One research done and led by Dr. Howard Sesso found tomatoes’ cardiovascular benefits. The result of Dr. Sesso’s research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research found that women highest intake of lycopene-rich-tomato-based foods had significantly reduced the risk of heart disease.

Tomato juice can reduce the tendency of blood clotting. This is claimed by Australian research. In the study, twenty people suffer from type 2 diabetes were given 250 ml of tomato juiced or a tomato-flavored therapy daily. The people who were subjects of the study had no history of clotting problems and did not take any medications that would affect blood clotting ability. After 3 weeks, the clumping together of blood cells (platelet aggregation) was significantly reduced among those drinking real tomato juice. However those who received the tomato-flavored therapy were not affected at all.

Tomato seeds are also very useful. One research conducted in Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen, Scotland found the benefits of tomatoes seeds for health. As quoted by a health magazine, Prevention, Asim K. Dutta-Roy, the researcher found that the slippery layer in the form of yellow mucous around the tomato seeds actually contain a very effective compound to fight stroke and heart disease. Dutta-Roy said, if we regularly drink tomato juice without throwing the seeds away, then we have reduced around 72% of the risk of blood clotting, which is one of the causes of heart-attack.

Tomatoes are also good for the skin. Researchers from University of Manchester and University of Newcastle discovered that adding five spoons of tomato pasta to the daily diet of 10 volunteers can help preventing skin damage by giving protection against the affect of ultra-violet ray. The damage affected by ultra-violet ray can cause early aging, and even skin cancer.

So, start consuming tomatoes regularly from now on. However, once again keep it moderately, not too much. Anything that too much will not give good affect, don’t you agree?

DURIAN

Filed under: Health — priuk @ 3:00 pm
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Who does not know durian. It is a unique fruit with the sweet unique taste and odor. Because of the strong odor, many people do not like this fruit, but quite a lot of them love it. However, durian is also a pretty “controversial” fruit. We must all have heard the myth that eating durian can cause a stroke, especially for people suffering with high blood pressure. What is the truth about this common belief? Let’s figure it out in the article.

Durian (Surio zibenthinus Murr) is one of plants that grows on the tropical areas. The name “durian” was assumed coming from a Malay term “duri” (means thorn) and given the word “an” as the suffix, so it became “durian”. The word has come to the meaning of a fruit whose skin is filled with sharp thorns.

Durian is widely known in Southeast Asia as the King of Fruits. It is known to have been consumed since prehistoric time in the region, but has only been known to the western world for about 600 years.

Not only consumed fresh alone, durian flesh can also be processed into many kinds of dishes. We often see ice durian, durian flavored candy, and it even processed into one of Indonesian food ingredients called tempoyak. Tempoyak is some kind of paste made from durian flesh that has been salted and left for a few days before it is ready to be cooked.

THE NUTRIENTS IN DURIAN

We have assumed that durian is quite a fatty fruit. It turned out that the fruit contains only 3% of fat. Even the content of fat inside avocado is about twice of it, around 6.5%. Durian also contains high amount of sugar, vitamin C, potassium, and the serotoninergic amino acid tryptophan. It is also a ggod source of carbohydrates, and proteins. The content of phosphor and iron inside the fruit are about 10 times of the same substances contained in bananas.

From the strong odor many believe that durian contained alcohol. Is it true? Several studies about the case did find alcohol, such as ethanol and methanol inside the fruit but the compound is known to be unstable, can easily evaporate and disappear. There are some people who hastily associate the strong odor of durian with the amount of alcohol contained inside it. They believe that the stronger it smells, the higher the amount of alcohol inside it. However, up to this day there is still no agreement yet about the cause of the strong odor.

In 1995, Wong and Tie, in their research, had found 63 compounds that can easily evaporate (volatile compounds), including 30 esters, 5 ketones, and 16 sulfur compounds, which took the part on producing the odor of durian. But they never found any compounds of ethanol, methanol, ethyl metacrylate and other sulfur compounds, which had been mentioned by earlier researchers. From the researches can be concluded that consuming durian would not give the effect of intoxicated, unlike consuming liquors.

There is also a belief that consuming durian can make your body feel warm or sometimes hot. This actually depends on how many durians a person consumes. Durian does produce pretty high amount of calories; 100 grams of durian flesh produces about 124-18805 calories. So, it is not a surprise if you consume durian in quite high amount, for example 300 grams, the calorie it produces can reach up to 500. This obviously will make the body feel warm or even hot. This fact has made many people believe that durian can also function as an aphrodisiac fruit.

What about the belief among people that durian can be lethal for people with high-blood pressure and a bad heart condition? The truth is, up to this day, there is still no scientific proof published claimed what substances contained in durian that can cause the stroke or heart attack. It is actually not the durian that causes the illnesses, but how many it is being consumed. Dr. Santoso Karo-Karo, SpJP, a cardiologist from RS Harapan Kita said that he had never forbid his patients from eating durians, as long as they eat it moderately, not too much.

So, once again, the key of consuming any food is moderation. Never consume anything more than we should. This obviously also works with durians. However, we left all the decision to you. We are not here to suggest you to consume durian. In the end, it is you and your doctor who know what’s is the best food for you to maintain your health.

LOMBOK TRADITIONAL FOODS

Filed under: Indonesian Traditional Food — priuk @ 7:52 am
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Apa yang Anda ingat tentang Lombok? Banyak dari Anda mungkin mengingat Lombok sebagai tujuan wisata yang memiliki karakteristik mirip dengan Bali. Bagaimana dengan kulinernya? Kali ini Priuk.com akan mengajak Anda mengetahui lebih detil tentang ayam taliwang dan pelecing kangkung yang menjadi khas kuliner Lombok.

Beberapa makanan khas Lombok yang terkenal adalah ayam taliwang, pelecing kangkung, sate ikan tanjung, dan ares. Sate ikan tanjung adalah salah satu makanan khas Lombok yang paling enak. Sate ini dimasak dengan bahan ikan tuna, dimasak dengan santan, daun jeruk, bawang putih, cabe, dan bumbu-bumbu lainnya. Ares terbuat dari batang pohon pisang dengan santan, bawang putih, dan bumbu-bumbu lainnya.

Apa sih ayam taliwang? Ayam Taliwang adalah makanan berbahan dasar ayam yang disajikan bersama bumbu-bumbunya berupa cabai merah kering, bawang merah, bawang putih, tomat merah, terasi goreng, kencur, gula Jawa, dan garam. Sajian ini tampil dengan paduan rasa manis, asin, dan pedas yang sangat khas. Ayam bakar ini memiliki cita rasa manis, asin, dan pedas. Anda yang suka pedas, bisa minta tambahan sambal khusus berbumbu terasi. Kekhasan ayam bakar Taliwang, terletak pada cita rasa bumbunya yang dioleskan sebelum dan saat ayam dibakar. Begitu pun dengan bumbu yang disiapkan terpisah sebagai bumbu cocol. Kekhasan lainnya adalah ayam bakar Taliwang selalu dihidangkan dengan sayur plecing kangkung. Ayam Taliwang terbuat dari ayam dara, yaitu ayam muda yang berusia sekitar 4 bulan.

Teman makan ayam taliwang yang paling pas adalah plecing kangkung. Plecing dikenal sebagai masakan kangkung yang diberi/ dimasak bumbu plecing. Lalap sayuran matang ini terdiri dari kangkung, kacang panjang dan tauge kukus atau rebus ditambah gorengan kacang tanah utuh, disajikan dengan dua macam sambal, yaitu sambal tomat serta sambal urap kelapa.

Selain makanan-makanan di atas, ada juga sambel khas yang disebut sambel beberok. Sambel beberok adalah sambel yang dibuat dari irisan terong ungu, irisan bawang merah, irisan tomat dan cabe, disajikan bersama makanan khas Lombok lainnya. Ada juga yang disebut kimie-kimie yaitu hidangan yang hampir menyerupai gulai. Minuman yang khas adalah kelapa madu, terdiri dari air kepala muda, dan kelapa mudanya di suwir-suwir serta diberi madu.

Nah, sekarang Anda sudah tau kan makanan apa saja yang perlu Anda coba di Lombok. Selamat mencoba!

ORGANIC FOOD

Filed under: Health — priuk @ 7:41 am
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What do you eat everyday? Do you eat enough vegetables and fruits? Do you get enough protein and other nutrition? Do you eat the right kind of food for your diet? If you answer ‘yes’ for all these questions, you might think that you are healthy enough and you have given your body all the best, but actually that is not enough, my friends. Nowadays, we need also to consider the source of the food. Are they bringing dangerous pesticides or any chemicals inside? We can only guarantee that it is safe if it is organic food.

What is organic?

Organic usually refers to all “naturally produced” foods or the product of organic farming. Organic food differs from conventionally produced food in the way it is grown, handled, and processed.
Organic usually refers to the raising of farm produce (fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products) without the use of chemical or other synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, (synthetic or sewer-sludge); livestock raised with the use of growth hormones, or antibiotics; food processed without ionizing radiation or food additives; nor can genetically modified seed be utilized.

The terms “natural” and organic are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can appear on food labels. However, don’t confuse these terms with “organic.”

Why choose organic?

Here are some reasons for you to “go organic”:

  1. Organic food is not treated with any chemicals during the planting and growth of the item. Therefore, if you eat organic foods, you are not exposed to what could be a toxic cocktail of pesticides and fertilizers.
  2. Fresh organic produce has more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than farmed produce. Studies show that organic food contains between 50 and 100% more minerals and 25% more fiber.
  3. Choosing organic foods is the only way you can avoid eating genetically modified food.
  4. Choosing organic dairy or meat products ensures that the antibiotics, growth promoting drugs, anti-parasite drugs and many other medicines fed to the animals will not be passed on into your food.
  5. Organic produce often tastes so much better than farm produced vegetables and fruit. It’s full of flavors!
  6. Organic farmers often protect wildlife in their areas by not using harmful pesticides or herbicides and look for ways to protect their crops without harming wildlife and the environment.
  7. Conventional farming can damage workers’ health as they are exposed to the toxins in the pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers.

So, when will you start consuming organic foods?

THE TRADITIONAL FOODS OF BALI

Filed under: Indonesian Traditional Food — priuk @ 7:19 am
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Bali doesn’t only have the beauty of tourism; it also has culinary richness that we must try. Bali traditional foods are united in daily life of Balinese because they serve these foods in ritual ceremony. This makes the foods are so unique.

Real Balinese food is not readily available to tourists unless a Balinese family invites the tourist to a meal or he goes to a temple. Restaurants catering for tourists do not serve authentic Balinese dishes, nor do hotels. The reason is that there is too much preparation, large quantities have to be prepared and it has to be eaten when it is fresh. It is often spicy and very tasty.

Bali has a number of rules concerning food, drink and behavior. Cake is always served with coffee or tea, nuts and krupuk with rice wine, and tea, water or tuak with the meal. The host does not usually eat with guests. Besides, they eat with their right hand, as the left is impure.
Famous Balinese dishes are lawar, babi guling, bebek betutu, and rujak. Lawar traditionally cooked by men, who chop up strips of turtle or mango or coconut, add various spices and mix it with uncooked blood, so that it is red.

Babi Guling (roast suckling pig) is a great favorite amongst the Balinese, although the pigs are usually too old to be suckling, they are stuffed with spices, impaled on a wooden pole and turned over a fire of coconut husks and wood for one or two hours. Bebek Betutu is duck stuffed with spices and vegetables, wrapped in a banana leaf, and cooked for three or four hours. Rujak is a refreshing sweet and sour salad containing unripe fruit such as mango or papaya, mixed with sugar, chilly and salt.

Types of desserts that Balinese have are Black Rice Pudding and Jaja. Black rice pudding is also known as tofu: soy bean curd. Jaja is crunchy shelled soy beans that have been mixed with a special strain of yeast to form a small flat cake, which are then fried – it tastes a bit nutty.

Beside foods, Balinese also have traditional drinks like Tuak, Arak, and Brem. Tuak is made by cutting the undeveloped flower of either the coconut or the sugar palm tree. You then collect the sugary liquid that exudes into a bamboo container and ferment it. Arak is distilled tuak. It has a much higher alcoholic content and is colourless. It has a very sharp, biting taste. Since there is no fermentation, it can be bottled and sold. As the taste is unpleasant, the Balinese mix it with spices. It can also be added to coffee or mixed with brem. Brem, pronounced “brum”, is rice wine. It is a pleasant drink and can be drunk neat, over ice or mixed with arak. It is sweet and is made from glutinous rice or sticky rice. The rice is cooked for hours. Yeast is added. It is then allowed to ferment for three days, at which point the brem drains into a pan.

Those are things about Bali culinary you should try. For you who are Muslim, you need to be careful for your choice of food because many kinds of it contain prohibited ingredients for you. You may just say “halal” every time you order food. Interested to try?

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