Category Food

Describe the use of sugar?

In China and especially in India the production of cane-sugar is ancient. The Arabs turned this into sucar. The Greeks called it saccaron and today we have sucre in French. Zucchero in Italian, azucar in Spanish and sakhar in Russian.

The Egyptians during the Middle Ages had already developed a sugar industry. But the real story of this product begins with the introduction of the sugar-cane to America after the discovery of that continent in 1942. Christopher Columbus took the first specimen plants over from the Canary Islands to the Antilles in the West Indies where the plant found perfect conditions for growth.

To extract the sugar the cane had to be crushed between iron rollers. The juice was heated several times and refined by adding lime to it. It was then passed from   pan to pan and boiled until it turned into a sort of paste. This paste was then cooled in coneshaped vats.


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How cakes are considered good fortune?

When cheese met cake

Cheesecakes have been around for a long, long time. The Greeks baked them, and after the Romans conquered Greece, the recipe went to them. Did you know that the Romans called a cheesecake “placenta”? Smaller versions of this cake called libum were given as temple offerings and offered to the athletes who took part in the first Olympic Games held in 776 BC. A 1st century AD treatise on agriculture written by a Roman politician includes a recipe for cheesecake!

Fruitcake and wedding bells

Fruitcakes have a long and undoubtedly delicious history. It goes way back 2,000 years ago when the Romans made it with raisins, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts mixed up in a barley mush. Here’s something interesting: A well-preserved fruitcake can be eaten even after 25 years. In England, unmarried wedding guests were encouraged to sleep with a fruitcake under the pillow so that they could find the person they would marry in their dreams. Who knew fruitcakes had such powers!

Red velvet revenge

Red velvet cakes look and taste special. Originally, the rich crimson colour of the cake was obtained by adding boiled beetroot juice. Just like you would to, a woman thought it tasted fantastic and asked for the recipe at the restaurant where she tried it. The restaurant obliged, of course, but made her pay $300 for it! Rightfully enraged, the woman planned her revenge – she passed on the recipe, for free, to hundreds of others through chain mail!

Hip, hip, whoopie!

Whoopie pies are heavenly delights made of two cakes with cream filling between them. The Amish people were probably the first who made this cake. Apparently, parents used leftover cake batter to make these pies for their children, and when they opened their lunch bag, more likely than not, they shouted “Whoopie!” in joy – and that could very well be the reason why it got its name.

Australia’s special dessert

Australia boasts of Lamington cake as its very own special dessert. The legend goes that Lord Lamington who was the governor of Queensland in the late 19 century had unexpected guests and no dessert at home. His clever chef improvised by dipping leftover sponge cake in melted chocolate and coating it in a layer of desiccated coconut. Coconut was not a major ingredient in Western cooking back then, and it was instantly recognized as a unique dessert so much so that it was served at all state ceremonial events. Here’s a secret Lord Lamington didn’t really fancy these cakes at all!

The sought-after Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is an amazing upside-down apple cake. To know more about this cake, you need to know about two French sisters who ran l’Hotel Tatin in 1888. Their specialty was a crusty apple tart. One day, one of the sisters placed the tart the wrong way down in the oven. People loved this strange-looking dessert and when it reached the ears of the owner of Hotel Maxim in Paris, he wanted the recipe – badly! So he sent a spy who went to the sisters’ hotel disguised as a gardener and managed to get the recipe.

Mooncakes and secret messages

The Chinese bake and eat mooncakes during the mid-autumn lunar festival. A mooncake isn’t your typical spongy flour cake. It contains unique fillings paste made of sweet red bean, jujube fruit or lotus seeds. During the Yuan Dynasty, Ming revolutionaries wanted to overthrow the rulers and mooncake played an important role in this plan. Secret messages were printed as a mosaic pattern on the top. Destroying the evidence, obviously was a piece of cake!


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An eating disorder, in which people eat non-food items such as chalk, clay, and ashes is called?

People with the disorder pica compulsively eat items that have no nutritional value. A person with pica might eat relatively harmless items, such as ice. Or they might eat potentially dangerous items, likes flakes of dried paint or pieces of metal.

In the latter case, the disorder can lead to serious consequences, such as lead poisoning.

This disorder occurs most often in children and pregnant women. It’s usually temporary. See your doctor right away if you or your child can’t help but eat nonfood items. Treatment can help you avoid potentially serious side effects.

Pica also occurs in people who have intellectual disabilities. It’s often more severe and long-lasting in people with severe developmental disabilities.

There’s no single cause of pica. In some cases, a deficiency in iron, zinc, or another nutrient may be associated with pica. For example, anemia, usually from iron deficiency, may be the underlying cause of pica in pregnant women.

Your unusual cravings may be a sign that your body is trying to replenish low nutrient levels.

People with certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), may develop pica as a coping mechanism.


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What is emotional eating?

Emotional eating is the tendency of its sufferers to respond to stressful, difficult feelings by eating, even when not experiencing physical hunger. Emotional eating or emotional hunger is often a craving for high-calorie or high-carbohydrate foods that have minimal nutritional value. The foods that emotional eaters crave are often referred to as comfort foods, like ice cream, cookies, chocolate, chips, French fries, and pizza. About 40% of people tend to eat more when stressed, while about 40% eat less and 20% experience no change in the amount of food they eat when exposed to stress.

Warning signs for emotional eating include a tendency to feel hunger intensely and all of a sudden, rather than gradually as occurs with a true physical need to eat that is caused by an empty stomach. Emotional eaters tend to crave junk foods rather than seeking to eat balanced meals, and the urge to eat is usually preceded by stress or an uncomfortable emotion of some kind, like boredom, sadness, anger, guilt, or frustration. Other hallmarks of emotional eating are that the sufferer may feel a lack of control while eating and often feels guilty for what they have eaten.

A number of different health care professionals evaluate and treat emotional eating and may also help with weight loss when this contributes to overweight or obesity. As this symptom can occur at nearly anytime across the life span, everyone from pediatricians, family practitioners, and other primary care physicians may address this problem. Nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants may be involved in caring for emotional-eating sufferers. Mental health professionals who are often involved in assessing and treating this issue include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors. While any one of these practitioners may care for people who engage in emotional eating, more than one may work together to help the person overcome this symptom.


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What is Binge-eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a type of feeding and eating disorder that’s now recognized as an official diagnosis. It affects almost 2% of people worldwide and can cause additional health issues linked to diet, such as high cholesterol levels and diabetes.

BED was first explained in 1959 by Albert Stunkard, a psychiatrist, and researcher, as Night Eating Syndrome (NES). The term Binge Eating Disorder was created to define similar binge eating behavior without the nocturnal aspect.

Though BED can occur in men and women of normal weight, it often leads to the development of unwanted weight gain or obesity, which can indirectly reinforce further compulsive eating.

Men and women suffering from BED struggle with emotions of disgust and guilt and often have a related co-morbidity, such as depression or anxiety.

Professional support and treatment from health professionals specializing in the treatment of binge eating disorders, including psychiatrists, nutritionists, and therapists, can be the most effective way to address BED.

Such a treatment program would address the underlying issues associated with destructive eating habits, focusing on the central cause of the problem.

It is necessary to concentrate on healing from the emotional triggers that may be causing binge eating, having proper guidance in establishing healthier coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.


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What is Anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition and a potentially life threatening eating disorder. However, with the right treatment, recovery is possible.

The exact cause of anorexia is not known, but research suggests that a combination of certain personality traits, emotions, and thinking patterns, as well as biological and environmental factors might be responsible.

People with anorexia often use food and eating as a way to gain a sense of control when other areas of their lives are very stressful or when they feel overwhelmed. Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness also might contribute to the development of the disorder. In addition, people with eating disorders might have troubled relationships, or have a history of being teased about their size or weight. Pressure from peers and a society that equates thinness and physical appearance with beauty also can have an impact on the development of anorexia.

Eating disorders also might have physical causes. Changes in hormones that control how the body and mind maintain mood, appetite, thinking, and memory might foster eating disorders. The fact that anorexia nervosa tends to run in families also suggests that a susceptibility to the disorder might partially be hereditary.


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Why are soft drinks bad for your health?

Soft drinks are carbonated beverages. They are commonly also known as soda, soda pop, pop or tonic. While occasional consumption of these types of beverages may not cause any negative effects, drinking them on a regular basis is not healthy. Cutting back on the number of soft drinks you consume — or eliminating them from your diet altogether — is the best way to prevent associated health problems.

Obesity and a high body mass index are risk factors for many chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. While still not a healthy alternative, substituting diet soda for regular soda will at least reduce caloric intake and can help to shed unwanted pounds. However, a better solution is to replace the soda, with calorie-free water and three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk per day.

According to an article published in 2005 by “American Academy of Family Physicians,” consuming soft drinks on a regular basis may also contribute to a higher risk of developing diabetes. The sweeteners and caramel coloring added to soft drinks, may decrease insulin sensitivity. Since drinking soda adds sugar and calories to the diet, it may also raise the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which raises the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Ingesting sugar can contribute to tooth decay because acid is produced when bacteria enters the mouth and mixes with sugar. When the acid attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more and causes plaque buildup on the teeth and gums, it leads to tooth decay. 


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What is the recommended amount of daily salt intake, according to the World Health Organisation?

Salt in the diet can come from processed foods, either because they are particularly high in salt (such as ready meals, processed meats like bacon, ham and salami, cheese, salty snack foods, and instant noodles, among others) or because they are consumed frequently in large amounts (such as bread and processed cereal products). Salt is also added to food during cooking (bouillon and stock cubes) or at the table (soy sauce, fish sauce and table salt).

For adults: WHO recommends that adults consume less than 5 g (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day.

For children: WHO recommends that the recommended maximum intake of salt for adults be adjusted downward for children aged two to 15 years based on their energy requirements relative to those of adults. 

All salt that is consumed should be iodized or “fortified” with iodine, which is essential for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child and optimizing people’s mental function in general.


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Why do we need vitamins?

Vitamins are substances our body needs to grow, function properly, and to fight off disease. But our body cannot produce all the required vitamins nits own. So we turn to food sources and sometimes supplements to get them. All 13 vitamins play a crucial role in our well-being.

Vitamins are of two types: fat soluble and water soluble. Some vitamins that form part of our daily diet get stored in the fatty tissues of our body and in the liver. They remain there for about six months, ready to be used by the body whenever required. Vitamins A, D, E and K fall under this category. In contrast, water –soluble vitamins do not get stored anywhere and are carried in the bloodstream throughout the body. Some of these that do not get used up get excreted in urine. Hence it is important to constantly replenish them, vitamins C and the big group of B vitamins (B1 – thiamine, B2 – Riboflavin, B3- Niacin, B5 – pantothenic acid, B6-pyridoxine, B7-niotin, B9-folate and B12 – cobalamin) fall in this category.

Vitamin A: if you want keen eyesight, then this is the vitamins you need to take. A great immune booster, it also protects the body from infections diseases. It promotes cell development and growth, besides healthy hair, skin, bones and teeth. So, milk fortified with Vitamin A, liver, turna and cod liver oil, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, red bell peppers) and leafy greens such as spinach are the foods you need to take to get this vitamin.

Vitamin B: This group, comprising B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12, provides your body with the energy it needs to get its metabolism going. Besides, B vitamins play a role in producing red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body as well as boost nerve health. So turn to dairy products, whole grains, wheat, oats, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, leafy greens and legumes to get your dose of Vitamin B.

Vitamin C: This vitamin keeps gums and blood vessels in good health. A powerful antioxidant, it helps wounds heal fast and builds the body’s resistance to disease and aids in iron absorption. Citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, green and red peppers, broccoli and cabbage are rich in this vitamin.

Vitamin D: Make sure your body gets enough of this vitamin if you want strong bones and teeth. This vitamin also helps your body absorb calcium, an essential mineral.

Did you know the body produces vitamin D in response to sun exposure? It is also available in foods such as egg yolk, fish, liver and cereals fortified with it.

Vitamin E: An antioxidant, it protects body tissue from damage caused by free radicals which are compounds that form when our body converts food into energy. It helps cells fight off infections. Almost and peanuts are good sources of vitamin E. Besides, you can get it from wheat, oats, egg yolk and green veggies.

Vitamin K: This vitamin plays a critical role in making the blood clot in case of injury, thereby preventing excessive blood loss. This vitamin is largely present in leafy green veggies and Brussels sprouts and also in milk, yoghurt and cheese.


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What is veganism?

The coronavirus outbreak has sparked an interest in veganism with more and more people finding themselves drawn towards plant-based foods and drinks.

Veganism is the practice of avoiding animal products, especially in one’s diet. It seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of animals for food and fibre. In other words, it rejects the idea of commodifying animals.

Those who adopt this philosophy as a way of life are called vegans. They not only avoid animal foods such as meat fish, milk and other dairy items eggs and honey, and animal-derived products such as leather, but also refuse to patronise zoos and circuses that use animals for entertainment. The tem ‘vegan’ was coined by Donald Watson of Britain in 1944 to describe non-dairy vegetarians.

Many vegans eschew meat as it amounts to cruelty to animals. Some practise veganism to improve their health. Environmental concern arising out of animal agriculture is also one of the reasons that makes people go vegan. Then, what do vegans eat? A vegan diet comprises food from plants such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, rice wheat and vegetable oils. Vegans consume soymilk, almond milk and coconut milk in the place of dairy milk.

Health benefits

Vegan foods are rich in fibre and antioxidants. They help protect against diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Besides, a plant-based diet could lower cholesterol and the risk for certain coronary diseases while keeping body weight in check.

Though a vegan diet can be male healthy and nutritive with the available alternatives, there is one nutrient – vitamin B12 which our body needs to make red blood cells – that is present only in animal products.

Did you know?

The total number of vegans, vegetarians, and related categories was estimated to be about 8% of the world population as of 2018.


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