Why rice is healthy, and which types you should eat

Why rice is healthy, and which types you should eat

Rice is a staple in a lot of indigineus diets, especially those coming from the east where rice was very easy to cultivate. Today, rice is one of the most popular grains not only in Asia but also in the world. But which types of rice are the healthiest to eat and why exactly is rice so beneficial?

Rice is most popular in Asia

The rainy and hot climate of Asia has proved to be ideal for cultivating rice. Because of this, a lot of national cuisines coming from this area include plenty of rice. Incidentally, these countries like Japan and China are known to have much lower rates of obesity than Western countries. While in the West, most of our carb intake comes from other grains, in Asia the story is quite different. Asian people get most of their carbohydrates from rice, consuming about 20 portions of rice per week on average. This may be one of the reasons why Asian people have lower recorded weight on average than Americans and Europeans.

Different types of rice

Rice is also one of the most diverse grains. It comes in many shapes, sizes, colours, textures and aroma. When considering which is the healthiest rice to add to your diet you should pay attention to its colour first. 

White rice

White or polished rice is the most popular in the West since we adore our refined carbs. White rice has most of its healthful nutritional values removed since the brown layer in which most of the nutrients are contained is peeled in the production process. This type of rice isn’t inherently unhealthy and should be eaten in controlled portions. However, if you want to get the most benefits possible out of your carb intake you should look into other types of rice.

Brown rice

By leaving the bran and germ layers of the grain, brown rice obtains its characteristic colour. This type of rice isn’t as popular probably because it takes longer to cook so it isn’t as convenient for someone on the run. While having its downsides like longer prep time, brown rice comes with many nutritional benefits that white rice lacks. 

Wild rice

This type of rice is recognisable by its dark brown colour and longer grains. Apart from adding a colourful flair to your dish, this rice could be a right choice for both vegans and gym-buffs because it’s very high in protein.

Forbidden black rice

Despite its name, this rice definitely shouldn’t be forbidden in your diet. It got its name because historically the only person who was allowed it was the Chinese emperor. Nowadays, all of us can enjoy the antioxidants and other nutritional benefits which enrich the forbidden black rice.

The Bottom Line

The heart of the matter is that there is not one type of rice that is unhealthy. All in all, you should opt for some other grain types apart from white since they have more nutritional value. 

 

Top 10 Spices and Seasonings for Offal Meats

Liver. Tongue. Heart.

If your mind jumped to anatomy – and not tonight’s dinner – you’re not alone. But if you’re willing to expand your mind (and your palate), you just might be in for a treat.

What are offal meats?

Offals, also known as variety meats, make up the organs and other parts of the animal that are less mainstream than the cuts you may be used to buying. This includes (but isn’t limited to) liver, heart, sweetbreads, tongue, oxtails, certain muscles, tripe, bones and more.

These less common cuts are not only a great way to get out of your usual recipe rut, but also present an opportunity to explore global cuisines. As an added bonus, Variety meats are often more affordable than traditional cuts, and they reduce your environmental footprint by making use of nearly the whole animal.

Plenty of Recipe Potential

There are all kinds of great recipes you can make with variety meats. Make Liver and Onions – a nostalgic classic – or branch out and try your hand at an authentic Caldo de Res Mexican-Style Beef Soup.

Or try swapping out your commonly used cuts for variety meats the next time you grill out. Whether you’re a culinary explorer or just want to try something new, you’ll be surprised just how delicious variety meats can be.

Enjoyed by Many Cultures

While many cultures have enjoyed variety meats for centuries, these cuts are known for their acquired taste. But with the right seasonings and preparation, offal can taste amazing to both adventurous and reserved eaters alike.

No matter how you prepare your variety meats, there are a handful of spices and seasonings you can use to get the best flavor. Here are the top 10 spices and seasonings for offal meats.

Essential Spices and Herbs for Offal Meats

1. Salt
While salt is technically a mineral and not a spice, you should always season your offal meats with salt. In fact, every cut of meat needs salt. That’s because salt enhances flavor. So, salt is always a good base to start with.

2. Garlic Powder
It’s true – garlic goes with just about everything, and variety meats are no exception. Don’t forget about the fresh stuff, either. Garlic in all forms will enhance the flavor of your offals in ways you never thought possible.

3. Chili Powder
A staple in kitchens everywhere, chili powder is traditionally made from ancho chiles and a blend of Latin American spices. It’ll give your Latin-inspired variety meats dishes a spicy, smoky flavor.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric adds color and an earthy flavor – plus, studies show it’s loaded with health benefits. Add it to your favorite variety meat soups and stews for an extra layer of depth.

5. Paprika
Like chili powder, paprika powder adds a layer of smoke and spice. However, paprika has a warmer, sweeter flavor. Use them in combination for the best of both worlds.

6. Cumin
Cumin adds a strong, earthy, slightly spicy flavor. It’s a key ingredient for many soups, stews, tamales and tacos, and is often found in Mexican, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines. It’s great to use as a rub or in a marinade.

7. Espresso
You might be surprised to see espresso on the list, but finely ground espresso beans add a unique richness to red meat – particularly beef. The same rings true for your favorite variety meats.

8. Adobo Seasoning
Adobo comes from the Spanish word “adobar,” which means “to marinate.” So it’s no wonder adobo seasoning adds a delicious punch of zing to your favorite variety meats. This Latin seasoning typically consists of garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper – but different brands can have different additions.

9. Achiote
Achiote is native to the Caribbean and Mexico and comes from annatto seeds. It gives off earthy, peppery flavor with a hint of warm sweetness. It also gives food a beautiful orange color. Mix it with other herbs and spices and oil to create an achiote paste that’s great for marinating and giving smoky flavor to meat.

10. Pepper
While it’s a simple, common spice, black pepper is key to adding heat and flavor to your variety meats. For the best flavor, grind your own whole peppercorns.

Discover all Offal has to Offer
The next time you’re browsing the meat case, do yourself a favor and don’t skip over the variety meats. And be sure to stop by the spice aisle on your way out. You never know – you could be well on your way to your next star dish.

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Spices for Sports: What Spices Are Recommended for Athletes?

Spices for Sports: What Spices Are Recommended for Athletes?

Athletes are renowned for being extremely careful about what they eat. The top sports stars know that what they put into their bodies has a huge effect on their performance.

Yet, not everyone takes the time to consider the question of what spices to use. The truth is that a wise choice in this matter is just as important as in the other types of food that you eat. What are some of the smartest choices?

Turmeric

This is the root of a flowering plant that has a bright orange color. It has been used for centuries in the traditional medicines of Asian countries such as India and China.  Despite being so widely used, there is still a lack of reliable evidence on its clinical properties.

One area that a lot of athletes agree on is that turmeric can be highly effective in dealing with inflammation in different parts of the body. It is also said to help digestion and relieve fatigue. There are a number of ways of taking this spice, from adding it to a smoothie or a salad to making a wonderfully golden-toned turmeric latte.  

Ginger

Ginger is another root that is believed to be a powerful aide in reducing inflammation. It was originally found and cultivated in Asia, where it forms an important part of the natural remedies that have been trusted by generations. This is a hugely versatile spice that can be used in an enormous number of ways.

It is commonly used to add flavor in Asian cuisines and as an appetite stimulant. The list of health benefits that have been attributed to ginger is long, with pain reduction, weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and better digestion all mentioned. For serious athletes, it is the way it is purported to reduce inflammation that may be most useful.

Parsley

This is a flowering plant that originated in the Mediterranean and expanded from there to virtually every part of the planet. Parsley is widely used in many cuisines and offers a wide range of health benefits. These include a high level of vitamin C, anti-inflammatory properties, improved bone health, and better absorption of calcium.

One of the simplest ways for sports stars to get some parsley in their diet is with some green smoothies. Given that the likes of NBA and NFL players need to take on-board a lot of calories each day, this is a clever way to do it in a healthy way. When you bet on sports events, such as the SuperBowl wagers, see if you can work out which players have the best diets that help them to perform well. 

Cilantro

Sometimes known as Chinese parsley and called coriander in certain parts of the world, cilantro shares many of the properties that parsley has. Interestingly, research has shown that whether you love or loathe the taste could come down to genetic factors.  

If you like it, then you could use cilantro in salads, salsas, smoothies, and many other ways. It is one of the nature’s richest sources of chlorophyll and is said to help our digestion, lower pain and inflammation levels, and treat fungal infections too.

Oregano

Another great healing spice, oregano reduces inflammation and also contains large quantities of vitamin B and chlorophyll. It is particularly recommended for people with digestion problems. In terms of athletes, oregano is associated with the benefit of helping sore or stiff muscles to relax.  

Oregano is used in numerous ways, from sprinkling on bread and salads to adding it to tasty sauces. For athletes who are keen to get the maximum amount of benefits, the slightly bitter oregano tea is well worth trying..

Tasting Wine

All About Wine Tasting

There’s more to tasting a glass of wine than throwing it down your gullet. We’ll start slow.

Colour

Hold the glass over a white background, like a napkin or tablecloth. Colour varies with age, varietal (i.e. Chardonnay is darker than Riesling) and time spent in the barrel. White wines range from almost clear to pale yellow-green, straw/yellow, light gold, gold or old gold, to maderized brown. Reds can be magenta, purple, ruby red, red, eggplant, brick red or orange, red brown and finally, brown. (If you’re not drinking Sherry or Madeira, brown is not a good thing.)

Swirl

Swirl the wine to aerate it. This releases ethers, esters and aldehydes that combine with oxygen to bring you the wine’s aroma or bouquet. It doesn’t take much practice, but if you’re just learning, start with a white or dress down.

 Nose

Follow yours. First: the flaws. If there’s a moldy, wet cardboard aroma it may be “corky” or tainted. Drink not, or suffer the consequences. Sulfur (burnt match) aromas may dissipate with a little air time or may not even bother you too much, but too much sulfur dioxide is a problem. If your wine smells like Sherry but isn’t, that’s a problem. Likewise for vinegar. If a wine smells clean, fresh, and ripe to you, get out of the embarrassing tasting spotlight and motion for the waiter to pour. Only cigar smokers swish and contemplate the “legs” of a wine. The “nose” should also be faithful to the grape’s variety, which is something you have to learn over time.

Taste

Skip the sip. Soak your taste buds by taking a decent mouthful and rolling it around. Sweetness is detected at the tip of the tongue, so you’ll be aware of residual sugar right away. Varietal characteristics are picked up in the middle of the tongue; tannin (in most reds and wood-aged white) starts there. Acidity hits the sides of the tongue, the cheeks and the back of the throat. Oak — despite all the faux connoisseurs waxing poetic about a Chardonnay’s “complex oakiness,” the presence of oak is usually a negative attribute. Many delicious wines are appropriately aged in oak barrels, a process that enhances a wine’s body and viscosity.Many domestic whites under $15 are not just aged in oak but also oak-fermented — that is, artificially sweetened with oak chips, powders, and essences. The process disguises the natural flavour of the grape varietal with what is all too often the rough-hewn sweetness of, say, burnt caramel popcorn. Too much of any one flavour almost always means it’s out of whack.

Aftertaste is what lingers after you swallow. A long pleasing aftertaste with a nice balance of the other components is the sign of a high quality wine.

Finish

What was the body of the wine like? Light (like skim milk), medium (like whole), or full bodied (like cream)? If it was a white wine, how was the acidity? Too little and flat? Just right, crispy, fresh and pleasing, or too high and burning your mouth? For a red wine, tannins are a big factor. Light tannins make for a soft wine. They can be present, ripe and pleasing, or too high, leaving a dry mouth feeling that may indicate some cellar time is needed to chill out. How long did the “finish” last? A couple of seconds, or much longer, as great wines tend to? Is it ready to drink? Are all of these components appealing to you? Is it worth the price? Can you think of a food it might go well with? And most important: was it good for you?

With Food

Remember, red wine is not necessarily more sophisticated than white, and not necessarily the only choice with meat. In fact, because whites are generally lighter in weight than reds, they lend themselves more easily to a wider range of foods. While there are any number of great sipping wines, light- to medium-bodied wines that are high in acidity and sugar and low in alcohol tend to be the most flexible and complimentary to our lighter, more dynamic diets. Food-friendly whites include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc; the best choices among the reds are Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Gamay, Pinot Noir.

By Region

Regional wine qualities tend to reflect the specifics of regional cuisines. So picking a region to tour often means choosing what kind of food you want to eat for ten days straight.

Here are some top wine picks in Europe:

Northern Italy: Piemonte and the Veneto are greatly influenced by the rich subtelty of their butter-worshipping French and Swiss neighbors. Whites: From Piemonte, Pinot Bianco, Soave, Pinot Grigio with shellfish and fish; the sparkling Prosecco from the Veneto. Reds: Franciacorta Rosso (Cabernet Franc, Barbera, and Merlot) with meat; Amarone (Molinara, Rodinella and Corvina), Barbera, and young Nebbiolo with lamb and game.

Central Italy: Trendy cuisine from Tuscany and Chianti favors lighter pastas, vegetables and seafood. Whites: Verdicchio, Orvieto (Trebbiano and Garbanega), Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Reds: Sangiovese, Morellino, Rosso di Montalcino, Chiantis, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino. For tricky-to-pair cured hams and cheeses, fruitier reds are a good choice: Valpolicella (Corvina, Molinara, Rodinella), Barbera, Dolcetto, Ruffina.

Sicily and the South: Campagna and Sardegna—land of hard sheep’s milk cheese, salty fish, tomatoes and plenty of garlic—favor sweeter, prunier wines like Greco and Fiano from Campagna and Vermentino from Sardegna.

Northern and Central France: Delicate butter and cream sauces paired with exquisite veal stock reductions and tarragon call for great big wines that have high acidity. For fish or vegetables in light cream sauces, escargot, and oysters: Loire Chenins (Vouvray and Montlouis), Loire Sauvignons (Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé), and Champagne. For veal, pork, and white meat birds: Loire Cabernet Francs (Saumur, Chinon, Bourgueil) and the Gamay wines of Beaujolais. For red meat and game: Bordeaux and red Burgundies.

Provence and Southwestern France: Like Southern Italy, salty fish, tomato sauces, peppers, olive oil, and herbs go well with the regions many rosés and Ugni Blanc from Cascogne. With light meats and heavy seafood, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Condrieu, and Hermitage Blanc. Heavy goose liver pâté and duck can take heavy black wines like Cahors (Malbec), Madiran (Tannat), Bandol (Mourvèdre), and Syrah-Grenache (blends from Châteauneauf du Pape, Gigondas, Côtes de Roussillon, CÔtes de Lubéron, Corbieres, St. Chinian, and Minervois) and northern Rhône Syrahs like Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, and Hermitage.

Alsace: For the cuisine of this region, which is heavily influenced by its potato-, goose-, and sauerkraut-eating German neighbors, heavy aromatic whites are in order: Alsace Pinot Blanc, Tokay-Pinot Gris and the flowery and fruity Gewürztraminer.

Germany: Wines that are high in acid provide a necessary counterbalance to the fatty, bland, carb-and-meat-centric northern European diet. The Mosel Rieslings are citrusy, whereas Rhine River wines tend to smell vaguely of peaches. Nahe River wines are a combination of the two. Rheinhessen wines tend to have smoky undertones to their fruity flavour. Wines from the Rheingau region are dry. The increasingly popular Rheinpfaltz (or just “Pfaltz”) style is both full and fruity and includes Gewürztraminer, Scheurebe, Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), and Chardonnay.