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What’s in an Arrowroot?

Posted by on 10:58 am in Healthy Eating | 0 comments

What’s in an Arrowroot?

Arrowroots are a common feature for folks living in the rural areas.They are either part of the breakfast, lunch or dinner. In the urban areas, it is a highly priced commodity both due to its high nutritional value and also its scarcity.

How much do we really know about it? Let’s learn together.

What is an arrow root? Arrowroots - Nduma

An Arrowroot is starch rich, creeping underground rhizome belonging to the Marantaceae family plants. It is widely cultivated in the Philippines, Caribbean islands, and South America for its fine, easily digestible edible starchy tubers.

When Europeans first encountered arrowroot, the Arawak Indians informed them that it was called aru-aru, “meal of meals.” The Indians placed a high value on the root as a food, and the Europeans duly brought it back with them along with numerous other unusual plants and animals.

Arrowroots were also used as medicine, with some Indians believing that when placed on wounds made from poisoned arrows to it draws out the poison.

In Africa, arrowroots were brought in through colonization and are now grown in different countries including Kenya.

Health Benefits of Arrowroots

One of the healthiest foods especially for diabetic patients is arrowroot. It contains about 23% starch and can be consumed in the form of sauces, jellies, biscuits, cakes, fruit pie fillings and puddings.

Arrow root has high nutritious content and has many health benefits, such as:-

  •  used for treating bowel problems and is helpful in digestion.
  • It is a good substitute that stops nausea. Other than this, it also has the ability to replenish nutrients lost by vomiting and diarrhea.
  • it is used as an alternative to breast milk. One of the products prepared from arrowroot is jelly which can be used as an infant cereal. This food item is easily digestible as compared to other starches.
  • It was found that the consumption of freshly prepared arrowroot juice is an effective antidote against vegetable poisons. It is also helpful in treating poisoned wounds like spider bites, snake bites and scorpion stings,
  • Arrowroot is beneficial for people who are suffering from certain chronic diseases like bladder irritation or illnesses. Also used in diseases like gangrene can also be treated by taking arrow root in their diet.
  • One of the beneficial uses of arrowroot is, it can be used as a foot powder and can remove the excess moisture, since it is not anti fungal in nature and thus can only be used to control moisture.
  • One of the good points of consuming arrowroot is that it is used in the treatment of smallpox.

How to make arrowroot for a perfect breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 3 arrowroots
  • 2 tomatoes – sliced
  • 1 kg potatoes – peeled and diced
  • 1 onion – sliced.
  • Vegetable oil

Procedure

  1. Wash the arrowroots thoroughly under running water to remove all the dirt.
  2. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Place over a high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat to medium and cook arrowroots for about 2 hours.
  4. Peel the skin off the arrowroots and set them aside.

At this point the arrowroots are ready to eat, you can serve them with tea or coffee.

Alternatively – continue to cook…

  1. In a frying pan, fry the onions until golden brown. Add the potatoes and then the tomatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Add 1 cup of water and the arrowroots and let the arrowroots simmer for 15 minutes.
  3.  Serve hot.

Arrowroots can also be served with beef stew or chicken stew as the accompaniment.

 

How Much is too Much Food?

Posted by on 6:50 am in Healthy Eating | 0 comments

How Much is too Much Food?

Are there times you feel like you are eating too much? This could be from how you feel after eating and you feel too full. What about when you do not feel full, does that mean you have not eaten enough?

As we attempt to address this question – How much is too much food? its ideal to also note that there is no one definite formulae that works for all of us. The explanation being that we are all different in our genetic make up, varied ages and level of activity, hence our bodies requirements are varied. That said, it is also just as important to note that there are basic guidelines we can all agree on. These guidelines are what we are going to look at in this article.

Eat Smart: Know Your Food

You have heard about portioning food, and how you should serve smaller portions. The only challenge with going with just serving sizes, is that you have not ascertained how much nutrition you will be getting from each food on your plate.

The best place to start is by figuring out which foods give you what nutrients. Then based on your age, gender and daily level of activity, you can then determine how much of each food your body needs daily instead of how much you want.

As you serve food, remember to represent the 5 food groups. These are:-

  1. fruits
  2. vegetables
  3. grains
  4. protein
  5. dairy

Serving Appropriate Food Portions

Once you have determined what foods your body needs, how do you serve?

One easy way to size up portions if you don’t have any measurements is to use your hand as a guide:

  • A clenched fist is about a cup — and a cup is the amount experts recommend for a portion of pasta, rice, cereal, vegetables, and fruit.
  • A meat portion should be about as big as your palm.
  • Limit the amount of added fats (like butter, mayo, or salad dressing) to the size of the top of your thumb.

Another great way to visualize appropriate portions is to use the concept of the “divided plate.” Think of your plate as divided into four equal sections. Use one of the top quarters for protein. Use the other top quarter for starch, preferably a whole grain. Then fill the bottom half with veggies (or a combination of vegetables and fruit). None of the foods should overlap — or be piled high!

Not only will dividing your plate like this help you keep portions under control, it can also help you to balance your meals.

Know Your Nutrients: Vitamin A

Posted by on 5:51 am in Healthy Eating | 1 comment

Know Your Nutrients: Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the most essential Vitamins required by our body. Vitamin A is essential for numerous functions and processes in the body.

Vitamin A is a strong antioxidant. It is a compound that is comprised of a broad group of unsaturated nutritional compound. Most of the people call it the ‘natural slow aging agent’ this is because it helps to maintain the immune system, good vision and growth development. Vitamin A may be all you need to look young and age gradually.

 

Basic Forms of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is in two basic forms Previtamin and Provitamin.

Previtamin A is the retinoid found in animal foods. Retinoid have three actives form the retinal, retinol and retinoic. They can be used directly by the body and does not need to be converted.

Foods rich in retinoid include milk, shrimp, eggs, salmon, halibut, cheese, yogurt, scallops, sardines, tuna, cod, and chicken.

Provitamin A is carotenoids found in plants mainly fruit and vegetables such as squash, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables. Carotenoids have to be converted first by the body into retinal after ingestion for the body to utilize.

Effects of Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency symptoms are poor eye vision, premature skin damage, respiratory infection and gastrointestinal infection and at risk pregnancy (that can lead to night blindness for the mother) and thyroid dysfunction.

Furthermore, it can lead to gluten sensitive issues, leaky gut syndrome, auto-immune response and long term malabsorption of fats.

Is Vitamin A that Essential?

Vitamin A is very essential and plays an important for vision. It is required for the formation of the photoreceptor rhodopsin, which is a complex of retinal and the vision protein opsin, where retinal functions as the chromophore.  When light passes through the lens, it is sensed in the retina by both rod cells (black and white vision) and cone cells (colour vision).   Red cells are especially important for night vision as they can detect very small amounts of light preventing night blindness.

Also eye also needs vitamin A to nourish other parts of your eye, including the cornea, the clear covering on the front of your eye. Without enough vitamin A, your eyes cannot produce enough moisture to keep them properly lubricated.

Vitamin A role in the body is treatment and improvement of photo damaged skin pretreatment with retinoid might prevent ultraviolet (UV)-induced damage in the first place. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) damages skin via many mechanisms, one way UVR contributes to photo damage is by modulating signaling pathways that influence collagen homeostasis in skin cells.

Retinoid lead to visible improvement in fine wrinkling, smoothness, and hyper-pigmentation of photo damaged skin. retinoid induce a number of histological changes in both the epidermis and dermis hence the name ‘natural slow aging agent’.

Other benefits of Vitamin A include:-

 

  • Supports your immunity
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Promotes skin health and cell growth.
  • Fights inflammation
  • Acts as an Antioxidant
  • Maintains white blood cells.
  • Essential for maintainance of Bones, teeth, soft tissue

 

Foods High in Vitamin A

  • Kale

Kale is much more than just a regular garnish ingredient. Kale is one of the appetizing and nutrient-rich vegetables, which definitely deserve a place in your meal. Kale can create wonders for your health, including helping you meet and double the amount of Vitamin A that is required for the day. A one cup serving of kale contains around 200% of what the average person requires.

  • Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are as resourceful as they are full of flavor. Most of the people consume them plain or dressed with veggie dip. You can also include them in pasta dishes, salads and scrambled eggs. Doesn’t matter how you consume them, you’ll have all the health benefits they provide to your body. Red bell peppers are known to be high in antioxidants including Vitamin C, lycopene, and Vitamin A.

  • Carrots

Carrots are among the best sources of Vitamin A. Consuming a lot of carrots can help improve your eyesight naturally. One medium carrot has over 200% of the average person’s daily requirement of Vitamin A. Carrots are also an excellent source of Vitamins B, C, and K. It also has a good amount of Fiber and Magnesium in it.

  • Sweet Potato as a Rich Source of Vitamin A

Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, especially at the time of winters. This vegetable is a rich source of vitamin A. A single sweet potato is sufficient to meet your daily requirement of Vitamin A intake. It contains beta-carotene, which helps in protecting you from free radical damage.

  • Spinach

Include spinach in your diet each day to fulfill the requirement of Vitamin A. Spinach is an excellent boost to many aspects of your health. In particular, you can be sure of Vitamin A requirement by enjoying a one-cup serving of spinach daily. Spinach contains 49% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A. Spinach also fills your body with Vitamin C and K, Manganese, Calcium, and Iron.

  • Tomatoes

From a botanical point of view, tomatoes are a fruit. Although most of the people consider them to be a vegetable. Consider them fruit, vegetable or anything, you should include them in your diet. This is because, they’re low in calories and high in numerous Minerals and Vitamins. Just a medium tomato can provide you with 20% of your daily need of Vitamin A. They’re also a rich source of Vitamin C and lycopene.

You can read more on Foods rich in vitamin a. 

Mbirimbi – The Healthy Exciting Option

Posted by on 3:04 pm in Signature Dishes | 0 comments

Mbirimbi – The Healthy Exciting Option

Much has been said and there has been a big ongoing debate about condiments, sauces, flavours and enhanced seasoning agents added to food to enhance taste.

We all love to have that additional zing to our food by adding tomato and chilli sauces, soy sauce, pepper sauce, mustard, ketchup, salad dressings and other flavour enhancers. (more…)

Amaica Restaurant – The Perfect Venue for your Corporate Christmas Party

Posted by on 11:49 pm in About Amaica | 0 comments

Amaica Restaurant – The Perfect Venue for your Corporate Christmas Party

As 2016 comes to a close celebrate your achievements with friends, family, colleagues or workmates. At Amaica, we have the perfect venue for you! Treat your team to the unforgettable Amaica Experience! You all deserve it!!
Amaica3 Amaica has a special offer for corporate parties, that provides an environment that allows staff to exhale and wind down the year, whilst enjoying a wholesome and fulfilling African meal. With two buffet menu options, each with over fifteen different signature dishes to sample from around the country, Amaica provides just the right combination to end the year in grand African Style. We can also customize the African buffet items to meet your specific preferences. Please find attached the menu packages.

Amaica has the capacity to host up to 150 pax on the terrace area overlooking the lush green Karura Forest.  There is also the Private Dining Set up indoors that is suitable for private parties, corporate functions and family parties. This can comfortably seat up to 50pax.

Live band and DJ services can also be arranged at a reasonable fee to spice up your party.

Please note that Amaica has secure and ample parking space for your comfort.

To make a booking for your corporate or private party, call us on 0724477663 or write to us on info@amaica.co.ke

Authentic Kenyan Holiday Delights

Posted by on 11:56 pm in Cooking Tips | 0 comments

Authentic Kenyan Holiday Delights

The holiday season is beckoning. This is the time we entertain or get entertained. As we do so, we try to ensure that we out do our friends by throwing the best party characterized by certain Kenyan holiday delights. In fact, should any of these dishes be missing from your offerings, then your party is considered a flop.

To help you along, see below receipts of some of these authentic Kenyan dishes.

Recipe for Ugaliugali

Ingredients (4 servings)
4 cups water
4 cups maize meal or corn meal flour

Bring water to a boil in a pan. Add the corn or maize meal and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick and smooth. Make sure it is not too stiff. Add boiling water if it is too thick. Gather the mixture in the middle of the pan and turn the heat to low. Cover the pan and leave it on low heat for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally. Flip the ugali onto a plate and, after it cools a bit, form it into a “cake”. Slice and serve with chicken, beef, fish or meat stew and a cooked vegetable dish or even sour milk (buttermilk).

chapatiKenya Chapati Recipe – Round Flat Bread

Ingredients (6 servings)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 tbsp oil or ghee
3/4 – 1 cup of warm water
Salt to taste

Mix the flour in a bowl and add salt and oil. You can mix with clean hands, or use a mixer or food processor. Add a little bit of water at a time and knead well for about 10 minutes until you have a stiff and smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it stand for at least 30 minutes up to two hours. Knead the dough well again and divide it into egg-sized balls. Dust each ball with extra flour. Flatten each ball and roll out thinly into sizeable circles.

Heat an ungreased, heavy skillet or griddle over a medium flame. Lightly grease the pan and slowly heat the first chapati. Cook on one side for about 1 minute or until lightly brown, then flip and brown the other side. Press the sides of the chapati with a spoon until it puffs. Remove the chapati from the skillet into a warm dish or foil paper and wrap it to keep it warm. Repeat this process for every chapati, wiping the pan with greased paper every time a new chapati is to be cooked.

Serve the chapatis warm with a meat stew and/or cooked vegetables. Chapatis can also be served with hot milk or chai.

Nyama Choma (Roast Meat)

Ingredients (3-4 servings)nyama-choma
3 lbs beef, short ribs or spare ribs
Salt and pepper to taste

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Grill on a gas or charcoal grill over medium heat 30 minutes. You can also roast the meat in an oven at 300°F for 1¼ hours. Meat should be golden brown, tender and juicy when ready. Nyama choma goes well with ugali and kachumbari or cooked greens.

Roast Leg of Goat (or Lamb)mbuzi-2

Ingredients (8-10 servings)
5 lbs leg of goat or lamb
5 garlic cloves
½ cup soy sauce
2 tbs corn oil
1tsp dried rosemary
Pinch of salt and ground black pepper

Score the goat or lamb and insert the garlic cloves into the meat. Mix the remaining ingredients and rub the meat thoroughly with this marinade. Let it stand covered for several hours. In an oven heated to 375°F, roast, roast the meat for 2½ hours. Brush it often with marinade. You may also roast or barbecue the meat on a grill but remember to brush it often with the marinade.

 

Kachumbari Salad Recipe

Ingredients (6 servings)
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 medium onions, finely chopped, washed with salted water, and drained
½ cup fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 cup finely chopped cilantro, Dhania or parsley
3 grated carrots

Arrange the tomatoes on a serving platter with onions on top. Sprinkle the parsley (or cilantro) over the top. Place the grated carrots to one side. Splash the lemon juice over all. Do not toss. Serve cold with nyamachoma or pilau.

Culinary Herbs and their Remarkable Health Benefits

Posted by on 10:42 am in Cooking Tips, Healthy Eating | 0 comments

Culinary Herbs and their Remarkable Health Benefits

How much do you know about the herbs you use in the kitchen daily? Herbs have the ability to turn bland and uninteresting meals to gourmet and delicious dishes. In addition, herbs have medicinal value that when used well it eases pains,aches and also protects against diseases.

As part of Amaica’s healthy eating philosophy, herbs are part and parcel of our culinary process, we simply cannot do without them, these are such as thyme, garlic, basil, rosemary, ginger and mint among others.

Let’s look at a number of herbs and learn more about them.

Basil

Basil is a healthy herb that has been credited with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also known for increased cardiovascular health, decreased blood sugar in diabetes cases and swelling from arthritis. If you have asthma or suffer from chronic respiratory infections, the anti-inflammatory properties of basil can really help you.

How to Use: Basil can pretty much be used in anything. Add a few leaves into any pasta sauce, soup, or curry for a burst of flavor. Incorporate some into an omelet or layer it with tomato and fresh mozzarella for a creamy, fresh, Caprese Salad. If you’re feeling up to it, try making your own fresh pesto with plenty of basil for a full, robust flavor and equally potent health benefits.

Sage

Whether or not it’s a coincidence, whoever connoted sage with wisdom could have been on to something. Sage tea can be used for nausea and other stomach issues, but new research shows that sage really shines when it comes to neural health. It has always had a reputation for healing things such as the plague, however research suggests it can improve brain function, memory, and cognition- especially for those with Alzheimer’s. If someone has Alzheimer’s, their brain has a deficit of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Sage stops the breaking down of acetylcholine, and in studies has shown to produce significant improvements in brain function of Alzheimer’s patients.

In healthy people however, other studies have shown memory improvement no matter the age. So if you find you need just a little extra memory boost before your next exam, maybe try adding a little sage to your diet.

How to Use: Sage goes very well in different stuffing, which is why it’s fairly common during thanksgiving. However, if you really want the benefits, try to eat it more than once a year. Sage pairs very well with squashes and walnuts, as well as enhancing a baked chicken or fish. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, try buying or making your own sage butter to use for different recipes.

Thyme

If you haven’t incorporated thyme into your diet, then it’s about time you do so. Thyme has an impressive resume. People use it to treat cough, sore throats, arthritis, diarrhea, yeast infections, parasites, types of cancer, bronchitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and is especially high in iron. An essential compound of thyme is thymol, which can destroy harmful bacteria and makes thyme a great disinfectant. If you are sick of constantly seeing a dermatologist and buying expensive acne medications, thyme may be exactly what you’re looking for. Its antibacterial properties make it a better pimple popper than most anti-acne products.

How to Use: If you’re looking to control your high blood pressure or cholesterol, substituting thyme for salt will surely do the trick. If you have a frog in your throat or a cold try making a thyme tea. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper way to clear skin, try making a tincture. Steep thyme in alcohol for days or even weeks and you will have the cheapest acne remedy you can find.

Cayenne

Capsaicin is the main ingredient in hot sauce, cayenne, and other chilies that are responsible for its amazing health benefits. It has great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that has made it an active ingredient in over-the-counter pain creams. Capsaicin also reduces your appetite and bolsters your metabolism-making it a key ingredient if you’re trying to lose some weight.

By stimulating circulation and sweating, it also is great for your next total body detox. And, just like most of the other spices in this list, animal studies have shown that capsaicin can combat certain types of cancer such as lung and liver cancers. No matter what way you’re trying to whip your body into shape, cayenne will help do the trick

How to Use: You don’t need hot sauce in your bag, but you could stand to add a dash in any savory meat or vegetable dish. Throw in some cayenne powder into popcorn to give it a little extra pop, or add some to pasta sauce for a fiery kick. Be warned though, the more you get used to the spice the more you have to use to get the beneficial effects. If cayenne is too tame for you go with another pepper that has capsaicin like a hot habeñero. If you aren’t used to the spice, no worries! Try a pimento or other non-spicy pepper that can give you similar effects.

Rosemary

You’ve probably had rosemary with lamb or chicken, but you most likely didn’t know that it is a great source of calcium, vitamin B6 and iron. Some of the explored health benefits of rosemary have been its abundant antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals that help the immune system and blood circulation.

Rosemary also has some extremely important active ingredients such as carnosic acid that has shown to protect against neural degeneration, especially in the hippocampus. Your hippocampus is responsible for consolidating short term memory into long term memory, and is often the first place to get hit with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Recent studies in oncology have also shown that it seems to have anti-inflammatory properties and slows propagation of leukemia and breast cancer cells. All in all, rosemary is one of the most potent herbs you could possibly have in your kitchen- and costs next to nothing compared to modern medicine.

How to use: Using it as a lamb or chicken rub for dinner is all well and good (especially if you combine it with a little thyme), but try branching out into fish, soups, and sauces. Also, infusing it in olive oil can be a great way to increase your usage and add a little extra flavor to all your savory dishes. Boiling water with rosemary can also serve as a home-made antiseptic. However, if you are feeling really adventurous, try incorporating rosemary into soap. It can relieve nasal congestion and fight aging by stimulating capillaries beneath the skin.
Read more on herbs – visit ahealthblog.com

Health Benefits Of Ginger

Posted by on 8:00 am in All, Healthy Eating | 0 comments

Health Benefits Of Ginger

History of Ginger

Ginger originated in China, Southeastern Asia and India, where it has been used as a culinary spice no less than 4,400 years ago. Ginger was brought from China by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. The Spanish introduced ginger to Mexico and South America.

China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and Thailand are presently the main producers of ginger.

Fresh ginger ought to be kept at room temperature. Fresh ginger is a better choose over dried ginger, because it’s superior in flavor and also has higher levels of the antioxidant gingerol.

Some Health Benefits of Ginger

Health Benefits Of Ginger

1 – Ginger for cancer

A study in mice found that the mice given gingerol, the antioxidant found in ginger which gives it its distinctive flavor, had less tumors and their size was significantly smaller than those of mice who didn’t get gingerol.

In another study, mice that had been injected with cancer cells and given ginger had protection against the forming of colon cancer.

2 – Ginger for morning sickness

Research has revealed that 125mg of ginger extract taken 4 times daily for 4 days reduced morning sickness significantly in women who were less than 20 weeks pregnant.

In other research, 53% of women who were less than 16 weeks pregnant who consumed a 1.05 gram ginger capsule reported a reduction in both vomiting and nausea associated with pregnancy.

3 – Ginger for motion sickness

Studies have shown that ginger has a substantial effect on both the prevention and treatment of motion sickness.

4 – Ginger for osteoarthritis

A study has found that individuals having osteoarthritis who had ingested ginger extract had a greater reduction in knee pain compared to those who did not ingest ginger.

For more on this article – visit Pinch of health