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Bone broth: a healthy and nutritious addition to your diet

Bone broth is a nutritious, dense, and tasty stock that can be used for soups, sauces and stews, or consumed on its own as a health drink. Bone broth is made by simmering any types of bones and connectives tissues (like beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, or fish) for hours to make a gelatinous stock. This method helps extract the nutrients such as collagen (a type of protein with important amino acids like glycine, glutamate, arginine, and proline), glucosamine and chondroitin, minerals (like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron), vitamins (vitamin A, K), and trace elements (like selenium, zinc, manganese) from bone and bone marrow.

So, it can help support the bones, joints, and skin health, repairing wounds, reducing inflammation and improving gut health (due to high amino acid glutamine, glycine, and arginine content), and help with sleep.

It is easy to make bone broth at home. You may save bones from other meals or buy them from butcheries or grocery stores with a meat section. You may also add any kind of vegetables, herbs or spices to the basic recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. bones with or without skin or meat, either raw or cooked. The raw bones can be browned in oven for 15 minutes first to improve the flavour. You can also use feet, ribs, necks and knuckles.

  • 4 cups of cold water to cover the bones

  • 1-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

  • Vegetables (onion, garlic, dried mushrooms like shitake, celeries, carrots) (optional)

  • Herbs (a handful of fresh parsley, 1 tbsp. of dried oregano, sage or thyme, 1-2 dried bay leaves) (optional)

  • Spices (1 tsp. of turmeric powder or peeled and chopped fresh turmeric root, 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root)

 

Instructions:

  • Combine bones, water and vinegar in a big pot, bring to boil and remove the froth from the surface. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 12- 24 hours. You may also make bone broth in slow cooker. The longer you simmer the broth, more nutrients and gelatine will be released. Add the vegetables, herbs and spices in the last 1-2 hours of cooking. Strain, and discard the solid content (bones, vegetables).

  • You can freeze the broth in ice cube trays to store. It can be stored for 6 months in freezer and for about 5 days in the fridge.

  • If you are concerned about the fat content, you may separate the fat layer off the top after being refrigerated.

  • You can add bone broth to soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles, or drink it as a healthy and low-calorie snack between meals.

Chia Seeds: Tiny and Mighty!

For centuries, these seeds have been celebrated for their health

advantages and were a fundamental component in the traditional

diets of the Aztec and Maya civilizations. Chia seeds come from

the plant Salvia hispanica, a member of Mint family.

Chia seeds' nutritional content has the potential to enhance cardiovascular wellbeing, fortify bones, and aid in the management of blood sugar levels.

Here are some of the health benefits of chia seeds:

 

Nutritional Value

These little black or white seeds have exceptional nutritious value and are packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Each ounce (28 grams or 2 tablespoonful) of chia seeds contains about 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA- an omega-3 fatty acid), and 10 grams of fiber.

 

Potent Antioxidants

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants like quercetin, which have protective effects on heart and liver. Some of these antioxidants may help reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and protect the cells against harmful effects of toxins and infections.

 

Support Heart and Metabolic Health

Because of high amounts of fiber (including soluble fiber), omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, chia seeds are related to reduced risk of heart disease, and lowering high blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.

Additionally, the high fiber and protein content of chia seeds may help reduce appetite and food intake and support weight loss. Fibers have an important role in controlling blood sugar level, so consuming chia seeds can be useful in the diet of people with high blood sugar and diabetes.

 

Improve Bone Health

Chia seeds are high in minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and ALA, which are important in bone health.

 

A Simple Recipe for Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds

  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or any milk of your choice

  • 1 tsp. honey, maple syrup, or any sweetener of your choice (optional)

  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon (optional)

 

Instructions

Pour all the ingredients into a jar and mix well until there is no clumping. Cover the jar and put in fridge overnight. Top it with fresh or frozen fruits (tart cherries, blueberries, strawberries), chopped nuts, or coconut flakes. Enjoy a tasty and healthy breakfast.

A Touch of Tahini: Why is it So Good?

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It's a staple

ingredient in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African

cuisines. To make tahini, sesame seeds are toasted, hulled, and

then ground into a smooth paste. Tahini has a rich, nutty flavour and

a creamy texture. It's commonly used in dishes like hummus,

baba ghanoush, and halva, as well as in salad dressings and sauces. It's prized for its versatility and its nutritional profile.

Tahini offers several health benefits due to its nutrient-rich composition:

 

Rich in Healthy Fats: Tahini is primarily composed of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Good Source of Protein: Sesame seeds, the main ingredient in tahini, contain protein. Adding tahini to your diet can contribute to your daily protein intake, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.

Abundant in Vitamins and Minerals: Tahini contains various vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. These nutrients are vital for maintaining bone health, supporting muscle function, and aiding in energy metabolism.

 

Rich in Antioxidants: Sesame seeds contain antioxidants like sesamol and sesamin, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Antioxidants play a role in reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage, potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

 

Promotes Digestive Health: Tahini is a good source of dietary fibre, which aids digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Fibre also helps maintain a healthy gut microbiome by providing nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria.

 

Supports Skin Health: The vitamins and minerals found in tahini, such as vitamin E, zinc, and copper, contribute to healthy skin by promoting collagen production, protecting against oxidative damage, and supporting skin cell regeneration.

 

May Aid Weight Management: Despite being calorie-dense, the healthy fats and protein in tahini can help promote feelings of fullness and satiety, potentially reducing overall calorie intake and aiding in weight management when consumed in moderation.

 

Potential Blood Sugar Regulation: Some research suggests that the lignans found in sesame seeds may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which could be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.

Incorporating tahini into your diet as part of a balanced and varied eating plan can provide these health benefits and contribute to overall well-being. However, it is essential to consume tahini in moderation due to its high calorie and fat content.

 

How to make Tahini Sauce

 

You can drizzle this creamy, nutty, and easy-made sauce on salads, grain bowls, or falafel, dip your raw veggies in it, or spread it on toast.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 garlic clove (pressed or grated)

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or 1 teaspoon ginger (optional)

 

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, stir all the ingredients together. You may add ¼ to ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey, or ½ to 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil to balance the flavour. If it's too thick, add some water to reach your desired consistency.

Unbeatable Beet!

For centuries, beetroot (commonly known as beet) has been enjoyed

for its deep red color and delicious taste, tracing its roots back to

civilizations around the Mediterranean. This "Superfood" is packed

with valuable nutrients like fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, as

well as plant compounds (and this is why it is called a superfood!).

Beetroot is not only tasty but also offers numerous health benefits. From supporting healthy heart and vascular system to aiding digestion and even potentially boosting athletic performance, beetroot is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that deserves a place on your plate.

Here are some evidence-based health benefits of beets:

 

Rich in nutrients, low in calorie: Beets are your friend on your weight loss journey. They offer a bit of almost all vitamins and minerals to your body. You get only 45 calories per 100 g of cooked beet, for a value of 1.7 g protein, 2 g of fiber, and relatively good amount of folate, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and iron.

 

Rich in Antioxidants: Beets boast a wealth of antioxidants in both their leaves and roots, which fight cell damage and lower the risk of heart disease. Beet is one of the few vegetables containing  Betalains, a family of potent antioxidant responsible for beets' vibrant color, with added benefit of anti-inflammatory properties that can potentially protect against cancer and various inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis (inflammation of joints) and high blood pressure.

 

Lowers Blood Pressure: Beet contains high amounts of dietary nitrites that convert to nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is responsible for dilation of the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.

Potentially Improves Athletic Performance: Dietary nitrates in beet can improve physical performance and endurance by promoting the efficiency of mitochondria (the powerhouses in our cells) and boosting heart function.

Promotes Digestive Health: Being a good fiber source, beet can feed the good bacteria in your gut and add bulk to stool. Fiber helps with promoting a healthy microbiome, lowering inflammation, and risk of constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and colon cancer. 

 

May Support Brain Health: Dietary nitrates can improve blood flow in brain, especially the frontal lobe (a part of brain responsible for higher level thinking, decision making and working memory). So, beets may potentially help with cognitive function.

 

How to Make Curried Beet Soup

 

With its beautiful color, curried beet soup makes a nice starter or light lunch, alongside a crispy green salad and a piece of hot sourdough bread dipped in olive oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium beets, peeled and cut into cubes

  • One carrot, peeled and cut into cubes

  • One large red or yellow onion, finely chopped

  • One inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder

  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

  • Salt 

  • 2-3 cup chicken or vegetable broth (or bone broth)

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil

 

Instructions:

  • Sauté chopped onions in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add minced garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. Don't let this mixture burn, or it makes the soup taste bitter.

  • Add beets and carrot and stir for 1-2 minutes. 

  • Add salt and spices (turmeric, cumin, curry powder, cayenne pepper) and stir well to mix and you smell the fragrances.

  • Add the broth and let it boil. Lower the heat and cover the pot. Let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked. The time varies depending on the maturity of beets and the size of pieces.

  • When the beets are soft, mash the vegetables with a masher or a fork, or purée the contents in a food processor. You may add more broth or filtered water if needed.

  • Pour in the coconut milk and stir. Keep the heat down and let the soup simmer to reach to your desired thickness.

  • Ladle the soup in bowls and enjoy the taste. Bon Appétit!

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