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  • Discovering the Cashew Nut

    It’s tasty, it’s crunchy and full of nutrients, but how much do you really know about the world’s favorite nut - the cashew?

    Nuts and kernels have always been a favorite snack of mine, and the world’s. They are just the perfect bitesize, are super salty and just crunchy enough to crack but not scratch the inside of your mouth. However, one nut stands out among them all, the cashew. I have had cashews in every possible way: cooked in food, raw, roasted and even covered in chocolate, but there was much about the nut I didn't know until recently.

    To start off with, I discovered that the cashew nut is not a nut at all, it’s actually the seed of a fruit known as the cashew apple. Although it looks like something you would want to try out, you most likely never will because they are very perishable, meaning that it will rot quickly after picking. So unless you travel to some tropical forest where cashew trees grow, your chances of trying the cashew apple are very slim.

    However, the cashew apple’s pulp is processed and fermented into a very popular sweet fruit drink and liquor in Brazil.

    The second thing I learned was that all cashew nuts are roasted, even the raw ones. Even more so, since the outer shell of the cashew nut is acidic and can cause serious skin irritations, all nuts are boiled or roasted before they are cracked open by hand and then roasted again.

    While we in the western part of the world know the cashew as a snack or even a treat, it is part of many cuisines around the world, and is used in cooking in places like China, India and Pakistan, among other Asian countries.

    Despite this, the cashew tree is actually not native to eastern Asia, but in fact to an area stretching between Central and South America, including the Caribbean Islands. It was the Portuguese colonists in Brazil who began exporting it during the 1550s and introduced it to the world.

    Even though it’s hard to imagine, the cashew nut has many industrial uses as well. Its shells have been used in the production of lubricants, waterproofing material, paints, and arms since the late 30s.

    Moreover, the “nut” and the fruit are not the only useful part of the cashew tree. In ancient Maya traditional medicine, the tree’s barks and leaves were brewed into a tea that would help them cure diarrhea.

    Although this is not all the cashew tree, or the nut has to offer, I will suffice with this information because it was enough to blow my mind and change the way I looked at the cashew nut. If you know any other interesting facts, please share them with us in the comment section.

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  • Den okända supermaten som du borde äta varje dag!

    Vad är det som innehåller mer fibrer än havregryn, dubbelt så mycket E-vitamin som kiwifrukt och mer kalium än bananer, och ändå är nästan helt okänt? Svaret är tigernötter, en uråldrig supermat som nu håller på att göra comeback.

    Tigernötter, som också kallas för chufas eller jordmandlar, är egentligen inte nötter alls, utan rotknölar som växer under jorden, precis som jordnötter. Trots att tigernötterna var en viktig basvara för våra förfäder, är det idag inte många som känner till dem utanför Västafrika och Spanien, där de odlas. Det är synd, för det finns många anledningar till att äta tigernötter varje dag!

    Got Guts Tiger Nuts från This Is Nuts Sweden

    Tigernötter är små och naturligt söta, och har en något seg konsistens. De är rika på E-vitamin och mineraler som magnesium, kalium, järn och zink, samt omättade fetter som är bra för hjärtat. Men det är det höga innehållet av prebiotiska fibrer som verkligen ger tigernöten dess välförtjänade supermatstatus. Prebiotiska fibrer består av olösliga kolhydrater som passerar genom magen och tunntarmen utan att smältas, hela vägen till tjocktarmen, där de blir mat åt de goda bakterierna (probiotika). Tillsammans bidrar prebiotika och probiotika (som bla finns i viss yoghurt och fermenterade livsmedel som kimchi, tempeh och saurkraut) till att diversifiera och stärka tarmfloran - biljoner bakterier och mikroskopiska svampar som forskare tror påverkar alltifrån vår matsmältning och kroppsvikt till immunsystemet, aptiten och humöret. Flera studier har visat att en mångsidig och välmående tarmflora kan minska risken för diabetes, fetma, allergi, inflammatoriska sjukdomar och mer.

    Trots att tigernötter innehåller relativt mycket kolhydrater har de lågt glycemiskt index (GI), vilket hjälper kroppen att hålla blodsocker och insulinnivåer stabila. Det gör dem till ett utmärkt mellanmål för diabetiker. Och eftersom tigernötter är 100% nötfria och glutenfria är de också ett bra alternativ för personer med matöverkänslighet och allergier. En handfull tigernötter är en perfekt och kladdfri mellis eller tillbehör till frukosten. Ät dem på jobbet, när du är på språng eller när du är sugen på något sött. I Spanien är det vanligt att göra vegetabilisk mjölk (horchata) och mjöl av tigernötter. Mjölet är en populär ingrediens för både bakning och matlagning, som ett hälsosammare och glutenfritt alternativ till vetemjöl.

    Tigernötter finns inte att köpa i vanliga mataffärer men finns i vissa välsorterade specialbutiker och på nätet. I de nordiska länderna är This Is Nuts Sweden exklusiv distributör av ångrostade Got Guts Tiger Nuts, en ny och unik behandlingsmetod som förhöjer tigernötens smak och naturliga godhet. This Is Nuts säljer även Get Real Tiger Meal, ett helt nötfritt och glutenfritt mjöl gjort på tigernötter. Mjölet kan både användas till bakning och matlagning, och passar till exempel perfekt till barnfavoriten pannkakor!
    Got Guts Tiger Nuts
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  • Five Health Benefits of Olive Oil That You Probably Don’t Know of

    You may have heard the claim that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest on the planet and yes, it lives up to the hype. This is in no small part because it includes an abundance of fruits, vegetables and – of course – the almighty olive oil. The fact that olive oil is good for the heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease is well established at this point, but are you familiar with some of the lesser-known health benefits of olive oil?

    Olive oil benefits our health in many ways.

    1. It is anti-inflammatory
      Researchers have found that newly pressed premium extra virgin oil sometimes leaves a subtle stinging sensation in the back of the throat when you taste it. This is actually a good thing, since it means the oil is rich in oleocanthal, a natural anti-inflammatory chemical which has the same effect on the body as ibuprofen. The chemical inhibits the activity of certain enzymes that cause inflammation, which could be one of the main reasons why people who eat a Mediterranean diet appear to be healthier.
    2. It may reduce the risk of breast cancer
      The vast majority of the fat in olive oil comes from monounsaturated fatty acids, which appear to help protect women, or more specifically postmenopausal women, against breast cancer. A study of over 4000 women aged 60-80 years showed that those who included 1 liter of extra virgin olive oil per week had a 62 percent lower risk of getting breast cancer compared with the women in the control group, who were advised to follow a low-fat diet. And with olive oil, it turns out that less is not more. The women whose olive oil consumption made up at least 15 percent of their daily caloric intake had a significantly lower breast cancer risk than those whose consumption was less than 5 percent.
    3. It may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease
      New research suggests that extra virgin oil may help our bodies clean out toxic substances that otherwise build up in the nerve cells and contribute to cognitive disorders. According to one study on mice, animals whose diets were supplemented with extra virgin oil had more functional brain connections and better memory at the end of the trial compared with mice in the control group. They were also less susceptible to cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
    4. It can help you maintain or lose weight
      For many years, fat was considered the nemesis of a healthy body weight and weight loss gurus and the government alike prescribed a low-fat diet. Today, the tables have turned and research has shown that fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat, especially if you choose healthy unsaturated fats. One study showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in virgin olive oil even can make you lose weight.
    5. It may help prevent and control Type 2 diabetes
      There is substantial evidence that olive oil has a preventive effect on Type 2 diabetes, possibly due to its high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, natural compounds found in plants that are believed benefit human health. Olives and olive oil are also the only dietary sources of oleuropein, a substance that helps regulate blood sugar levels and metabolism by telling the pancreas to release insulin.

    Aceituno Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Researchers keep finding more health benefits of olive oil and many physicians now recommend eating it daily. But before you run to the store to stock up on the liquid gold of the Mediterranean, let’s make clear that not all olive oils are created equal. There is lower quality olive oil and there is extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO as it’s known in the food industry. To reap all the health benefits of olive oil, make sure you choose a high-quality or even premium or ultra premium EVOO (learn more about the difference here). Beware that some of the healthy compounds in the oil start to break down at high temperatures, so if you want to preserve all the nutrients, it’s better to eat the oil cold on salads or with bread, or add it to the food after it’s already cooked, as a flavour enhancer.

    Enjoy!

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