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Apr 27, 2010

Best Foods for Healthy Hair

Ready to look like a million bucks? Grab your fork.

By Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, Men's Health

How important is hair? Very. In one recent survey, nearly half of women said that a bad hair day could worsen their mood, and 26 percent said they had cried after a bad haircut. That same survey asked women what their biggest complaint with hair was, and topping the list were fine or thin locks. The upshot: Good hair can make you happier, more confident, and yes, more attractive.
That’s why we decided to offer a simple solution: a diet-based approach to healthier hair, from the authors of Eat This, Not That! And why not? Just as eating the right food can help you build stronger bones and softer arterial walls, it can also help you construct stronger, more-consistent hair follicles. That means every meal is an opportunity to fortify your roots with another shot of hair-strengthening nutrients. Ready to look like a million bucks? Grab your fork.
Lean Beef
In a review of 40 years of hair loss research, Cleveland Clinic scientists discovered a link between hair loss and iron intake. That’s not to suggest that iron is the root cause of all bald spots, but the researchers determined that hair loss becomes more severe when iron levels are low. That means if you want to thicken your mane, you need to beef up your intake of iron. The best way: a 6-ounce steak, which has about 40 percent of the iron you need daily. Plus beef and other meat provide “heme” iron, which the easiest for your body to absorb, compared to iron from plant sources.
Other great sources of iron: Oysters, chicken liver, fortified cereals, oatmeal, and soybeans.
These tiny, sesame-like seeds are loaded with health-promoting compounds called lignans, which have been shown to both lower cholesterol and battle cancer. But one Taiwanese study attempted to establish a link between lignans and hair loss, and sure enough, it was successful. After 6 months, nine of the 10 balding men in the study reported that their rate of hair loss had slowed. The study used 50 milligrams to achieve the results—that’s the amount you’ll get in 1½ tablespoons of flaxseed. Just be sure grind it or buy it pre-ground—your body has trouble breaking down the seed’s tough outer shell.
Other great sources of lignans: Flaxseeds are by far the best, but sesame seeds also contain a decent dose.
You know those oblong white orbs you purchase by the dozen? Turns out they’re one of the most under-appreciated stealth health foods in your mane-managing arsenal. For one, they’re incredibly versatile. Even the clumsiest home cook can construct half a dozen egg dishes without glancing at a recipe book. Why does that matter for your hair? Because each egg provides nearly four grams of complete protein, and protein is the main compound your body uses to build silky strands. That’s why you see so many protein-fortified hair products at your salon. What’s more, eggs are loaded with animal-derived vitamin B12. Low levels of this vitamin can lead to graying hair, and if you decide to dye, you’ll be exposing your mop to a whole new world of potentially damaging chemicals. Keep a couple boiled eggs around as snacks, and crumble some into your salad for instant hit of protein.
Other Sources of B12: Sardines, Salmon, beef, shrimp, and dairy.
If you’ve spent any amount of time watching the Discovery Channel, then you’re probably already fascinated by the natural world’s tendency toward symbiotic relationships. (Those little birds that climb into the crocodile’s mouth to clean his teeth? Yeah, that’s symbiosis at it’s absolute craziest.) Well, the nutrients in your body work in the same way. Iron, as important as it is for growing strong hair, has a difficult time squeezing its way into our bodies. In fact, we usually absorb less than 25 percent of the iron we eat—many of us far less. So how do we improve that number? By pairing iron with its symbiotic partner, vitamin C. Research shows that high doses of vitamin C can greatly improve your body’s ability to absorb iron, which in turn can keep your hair firmly rooted in your scalp. And for each kiwi you eat, you’re taking in nearly your entire day’s worth of vitamin C. Eat it with iron-rich foods to improve your chances of lustrous locks.
Other great sources of vitamin C: Red bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, and oranges.

Apr 23, 2010

Why does our body need proteins?

Protein can be found almost anywhere in the body, it is used to make cells. It is the main component of muscles, organs, and glands. Every living cell and all body fluids, except bile and urine, contain protein.

After foods have entered the body they are digested, and the amino acids become free, to be used by our bodies to make the necessary proteins. These are required for growth and development; for making new cell substances such as protoplasm, but also for making antibodies, enzymes, hormones, etc. Proteins serve also as an energy source.

What are the best sources of proteins?

If a protein in a food provides us with the essential amino acids, it is called a complete protein. If it does not supply all the essential amino acids, it is called an incomplete protein.

All meat and other animal products are sources of complete proteins. These products include beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs (the best source of complete proteins), milk, and milk products.

Protein in foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables are considered incomplete proteins. Plant proteins can be combined to include all of the essential amino acids and form a complete protein. Examples of such combinations are rice and beans, and corn and beans.

What happens if protein intake is too high?

An ideal intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Lack of proteins will lead to a weak body, which is unable to fight against diseases. Excess protein is defined as more than 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight. A protein deficient diet may be better tolerated than a protein excess diet; too much protein in the diet is not healthy. The extra protein contains nitrogen, which is changed in the liver into a waste substance called urea. The kidneys need to get rid of this waste by excreting it in the urine. Too much protein can thus put a stress on the liver and kidneys.


What are proteins?

Proteins are very large molecules made of amino acids. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids that contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.

The presence of nitrogen differentiates proteins from carbohydrates and fats. A difference is made between essential and nonessential proteins or amino acids. The human body requires approximately 20 different amino acids for the synthesis of its proteins. Eight of these amino acids are essential, meaning that they cannot be synthesized in the body. These are: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Essential amino acids must be consumed from sources outside the body.

A protein is like a train with many cars linked together. Each of these cars or units is an amino acid. The many different combinations that can be formed from the 20 amino acids allow a huge number of proteins to be formed. It is just like a language where there are a few letters, but millions of words can be formed using different combinations of these letters.

Apr 22, 2010


The world production of yam was estimated at 28.1 million tonnes in 1993. Out of this production, 96% came from West Africa, the main producers being Nigeria with 71% of world production; Côte d'Ivoire 8.1%; Benin 4.3% and Ghana 3.5% In the humid tropical countries of West Africa, yams are one of the most highly regarded food products and are closely integrated into the social, cultural, economic and religious aspects of life. Traditional ceremonies still accompany yam production, indicating the high status given to the plant.

The genus Dioscorea contains a wide range of species used as food, of which about five or six species are widely used. There are many varieties of yam species widespread throughout the humid tropics, but the edible yams are derived mainly from about ten. The most economically important species are:

White yam (Dioscorea rotundata Poir). Originated in Africa and is the most widely grown and preferred yam species. The tuber is roughly cylindrical in shape, the skin is smooth and brown and the flesh usually white and firm. A large number of white yam cultivars exist with differences in their production and post-harvest characteristics.

Yellow yam (Dioscorea cayenensis Lam.). Derives its common name from its yellow flesh, which is caused by the presence of carotenoids. It is also native to West Africa and very similar to the white yam in appearance. Apart from some morphological differences (the tuber skin is firm and less extensively grooved), the yellow yam has a longer period of vegetation and a shorter dormancy than white yam.

Water yam (Dioscorea alata L.). Originates from South East Asia; it is the species most widely spread throughout the world and in Africa is second only to white yam in popularity. The tuber shape is generally cylindrical, but can be extremely variable. Tuber flesh is white and "watery" in texture.

Bitter yam (Dioscorea dumetorum). Also called trifoliate yam because of its leaves. Originates in Africa where wild cultivars also exist. One marked characteristic of the bitter yam is the bitter flavour of its tubers. Another undesired characteristic is that the flesh hardens if not cooked soon after harvest. Some wild cultivars are highly poisonous.
Agronomic Characteristics

Yam is grown and cultivated for its energy-rich tuber. It is adaptable to fairly fertile soils and is suitable for intercropping with grain legumes such as cowpeas, soybeans and a variety of leafy vegetables. A well-drained, rich, loamy soil however is the most favourable. Yam requires a warm, humid climate; however, the crop possesses considerable drought resistance. It gives more calories per unit of land area than most crops and matures within seven months. On soils of average fertility, between 20 and 30 tonnes per hectare of tubers can be obtained, and up to 55 tonnes per hectare on fertile soils; it also stores very well. It has quite demanding labour and maintenance requirements, such as hilling the soil around each plant to form mounds, to ensure a pulverised soil favourable for tuber development. Storage of tubers occurs after harvest in barns or heaps covered with grass.
Antinutritional Factors

The edible, mature, cultivated yam does not contain any toxic principles. However, bitter principles tend to accumulate in immature tuber tissues of D. rotundata and D. cayenensis. They may be polyphenols or tannin-like compounds. Wild forms of D. dumetorum do contain bitter principles, and hence are referred to as bitter yam. The bitter principle has been identified as the alkaloid dihydrodioscorine, while that of the Malayan species, D. hispida, is dioscorine. These are water-soluble alkaloids, which, on ingestion, produce severe and distressing symptoms. Severe cases of alkaloid intoxication may prove fatal. There is no report of alkaloids in cultivated varieties of D. dumetorum.


The bitter principles of D. bulbifera (called the aerial or potato yam) include a 3-furanoside norditerpene called diosbulbin. These substances are toxic, causing paralysis. Extracts are sometimes used in fishing to immobilise the fish and thus facilitate capture. Toxicity may also be due to saponins in the extract. Zulus use this yam as bait for monkeys, and hunters in Malaysia use it to poison tigers. In Indonesia an extract of D. bulbifera is used in the preparation of arrow poison.


Utilisation and Processing

By far the greater part of the world's yam crop is consumed fresh. Tuber utilisation is mostly as boiled or pounded yam. For use in fresh form, tubers are stored between harvests. The use of yam tubers has been in home food with little industrial involvement. Changes in wholesomeness during storage include wound repair, diseases and pests of stored tubers; hence yam tubers are lost after 4-5 months of storage. Drying of (injured) tubers soon after harvest and converting into slices or milling into flour for fufu ensures availability of yam in various forms. Traditionally processed yam products are made in most yam-growing areas, usually as a way of utilising tubers that are not fit for storage

Usually fresh yam is peeled, boiled and pounded until a sticky elastic dough is produced. This is called pounded yam or yam fufu.

The only processed yam product traditionally made at village level is yam flour. Except by the Yoruba people in Nigeria, yam flour is regarded as an inferior substitute for freshly pounded yam because it is often made from damaged tubers. Yam flour is favoured in the Yoruba area where the reconstituted food is known as amala . To a limited extent, yam flour is also manufactured in Ghana where it is known as kokonte . The nutritional value of yam flour is the same as that of pounded yam.

Yam flour: The tubers are sliced to a thickness of about 10 mm, more or less, depending on the dryness of the weather. The slices are then parboiled and allowed to cool in the cooking water. The parboiled slices are peeled and dried in the sun to reduce the moisture content. The dried slices are then ground to flour in a wooden mortar and repeatedly sieved to produce a uniform texture. Today, small, hand-operated or engine-driven corn mills or flourmills are increasingly used. Treatment with sodium bisulphate is often used to prevent phenolic oxidation during drying which darkens the colour of the product (especially with white guinea yam, D. rotundata). Blanching in place of sodium bisulphate achieves similar results. The yam flour is rehydrated and reconstituted into fufu and eaten with a soup containing fish, meat and/or vegetables

Bitter yams are not normally eaten except at times of food scarcity. They are usually detoxified by soaking in a vessel of salt water, in cold or hot fresh water or in a stream. In Asia, detoxification methods, involving water extraction, fermentation and roasting of the grated tuber are used for bitter cultivars of D. bulbifera.
Industrial processing of yam

Yams have not been processed to any significant extent commercially. Dehydrated yam flours and yam flakes have been produced by sun drying. The manufacture of fried products from D. alata has also been attempted recently. Both chips and French fries have been manufactured. Preservation of yam in brine has been attempted, but with little success.

Since pounded yam has so much prestige and is the most popular way of eating yam, two attempts have been made to commercialise the process. The first was the production of dehydrated pounded yam by drum drying. This product could then be reconstituted without further processing. This production was first attempted in Côte d'Ivoire in the mid-1960s, under the trade name "Foutoupret", by air-drying precooked, grated or mashed yam.

Attempts to manufacture fried yam chips, similar to French fried potatoes have been reported from Puerto Rico.

The Way Our Market is In Nigeria

The Way Our Market is in Nigeria.

The Grocer

Beginning as early as the 14th century, a grocer (also called purveyor) was a dealer in comestible dry goods such as spices, pepper, sugar, and (later) cocoa, tea and coffee. These items were bought in bulk, hence the term grocer from the French "grossier" meaning wholesaler.

As increasing numbers of staple foodstuffs became available in cans and other less-perishable packaging, the trade expanded its province. Today, grocers deal in a wide-range of staple food-stuffs including such perishables as meats, produce and dairy products. Such goods are, hence, groceries.

In the United States and United Kingdom, supermarkets and convenience stores are sometimes described as grocery businesses, or simply grocers.[note 1] The early supermarkets began as chains of grocer's shops. Clarence Saunders of Memphis, Tennessee invented the self-service grocery store with open stock in 1916, for which he received a US patent.