What is it? Where does it come from?
Blue spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria, which essentially in layman’s terms, is a blue-green alga that thrives in lakes, ponds, and alkaline waterways. The blue colour is derived from an extraction process involving a phytochemical called Phycocyanin. Moreover, unlike regular spirulina, the blue counterpart has no fishy taste and is rich in protein, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
So, what exactly is so good about this blue spirulina?
As with many other bright coloured foods, the blue spirulina is high in antioxidants. Its superior health benefits include –
– Weight loss – With such high content of protein, this alga can allow people to feel less hungry, lowering the chances of overindulging.
– Boosts energy – With the high content of B vitamins, it can certainly boost energy levels. This makes it ideal for intake prior to workouts or even as a daily drink to feel more energetic!
– Gut health – This alga contains chlorophyll, which helps to promote more healthy bacteria in the gut and ultimately, regularise the digestive system.
– Powerful antioxidants – The human body produces around 90% of the antioxidants that is necessary, but some of it must come from consumption. Spirulina contains many phytonutrients that act as antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties!
– High protein content – With the lifestyle changes of people, there are many opting to a vegetarian or vegan diet. This alga is a flexible alternative or boost to protein intakes.
– Liver health – By lowering inflammation, spirulina’s phytonutrients promotes liver health, with studies suggesting that spirulina improved symptoms of fatty liver disease.
Hence, once again, with such numerous health benefits, it is no wonder the blue spirulina is taking social media by the storm. Its vibrant ocean colours from food products ranging from smoothies to lattes, it is almost a magical ingredient with health benefits, taste, and aesthetics.
Acai berries are grown in small bunches on the acai palm tree in the rainforests of Central and South America. They have an appearance of blueberries, the dark purple skin, and the shape of grapes. However, they are technically not a berry, but rather a drupe. These are hardly sold in fresh form at the grocery stores, due to difficulty in transport and short shelf life. They are usually sold as frozen puree or dried powder. Acai berries are named as a superfood among health professionals, with benefits ranging from external improvements to internal health benefits.
Acai berries are nutrient-dense, somewhat high in fat and low in sugar. They are full of antioxidants, meaning they may lower the risk of age-related brain disease. Specifically, the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is abundant in acai berries. It has shown to enhance and improve memory and promote brain health. Anthocyanin also benefits in helping control cholesterol levels, which is good for the heart. The increase of antioxidant levels helps aid in neutralising damaging free radicals, to promote healthy skin.
Having named among the other superfood, acai berries benefits in supporting weight loss and boost your digestive system and energy levels. It is a good food to curb cravings and studies have associated acai pulp with reducing fat deposits in the body. Acai berries are good food to snack on when you are struggling against fatigue, they also have a strong detoxifying capacity that is good to clean and flush out the system. However, an individual should not solely rely on acai berries diet for weight loss and overall wellbeing. Acai berries contain amino acids which help promote muscle performance, endurance, and strength. Having these associated health claims, always keep in mind to consume it in a balanced diet and in particularly the sugar intake as puree form generally have high content of added sugar
Moringa Oleifera is a plant that has been widely known for its health benefits, with its rich nature in healthy antioxidants and bioactive plant compounds. It has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes, with antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, it is also extremely low in fats and has no harmful cholesterol. Not only is the Indian native plant healthy, there are also direct benefits towards consumption of Moringa. It is very nutritious, with almost all parts of the plant being eaten or used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicine. In Asia, a common practice is consumption of the leaves and the pods, while in Western countries, dried leaves are in either powder or capsule form. Moringa contains many rich nutrients including protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C and iron. Despite such rich contents, studies have shown Moringa to be lowering blood sugar levels, a cause of many serious health problems such as diabetes. Furthermore, there is also evidence of moringa aiding in the reduction of weight gain, with high vitamin B content assisting with efficient digestion. This is linked towards converting food into energy instead of storing it as fat.
On a more medicinal side, Moringa has been used for treatment of many health problems. Such problems include the treatment of edema aka swelling, a condition where fluids build up in specific tissues, causing painful reactions. The anti-inflammatory properties of Moringa may also be effective in the prevention of edema developing. More medicinal uses of the Moringa includes treating stomach disorders such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. This is widely due to the antibiotic and antibacterial properties of the Moringa. Ultimately, the Moringa is an essential part of diet throughout many countries, with it containing high nutritional value and the nine essential amino acids.
If you are ready to add this onto your diet, be sure that the Moringa powder is from a trustworthy source as not all Moringa is made equal.
Japanese Matcha tea is made from green tea leaves being powdered. Matcha, like all teas, is cultivated from the tea shrub, Camellia sinensis and are shade-grown over a period of three weeks. Matcha is primarily grown in two regions within Japan; Uji which is situated on the South-East border of Kyoto, and Nishio, located in the prefecture, Aichi. Many of Japan’s most distinguished and expensive Matcha originates from Uji and Nishio, with the terrain being perfect for Matcha. Such terrain would include mild climates, remoteness of location, soil fertility levels being high and elevation levels (some terrains in Nishio are roughly 600 metres elevated). These factors contribute to the quality of Matcha produced – bright green in colour, abundance of umami and high levels of nutrients.
Camellia sinensis, however, does have differing varieties, with some being of a higher grade than others. The top grades of Matcha are called samidori, okumidori and yabukita in Japanese. These three variances of the tea shrub have been examined, selected and grown in Japan for more than 900 years, reiterating to the rich history of Matcha. It is a case of high enthusiasm for many Japanese farmers and in many occurrences, have been grown by family linages for many hundreds of years. It is without doubt that such families have much knowledge in cultivating these three varietals to ultimately have a superior grade Matcha.
The reason towards Matcha being shade-grown is that direct sunlight would hinder production of chlorophyll, a cyanobacteria that contributes to Matcha’s distinct green colour. Moreover, the shading of plants also allows an increase in amino acid theanine, which is said to give Matcha a deep umami flavour. Although Matcha is derived from green tea leaves, its growth style, harvest and production methods significantly differ from those of green tea.
As we all know, there are many different usages of the wonderous Matcha. You can drink it in its traditional tea form or even use it in various cooking recipes. Hence, dependent on your usage, there are two main Matcha tea grades, ceremonial and culinary, that you could purchase. These two differing grades have spark contrasts in colour, texture, and quality.
Ceremonial Grade Matcha
If you were to be purchasing ceremonial grade matcha, it can only be for one purpose – consumption through drinking. This grade is the highest form of Matcha, made from the youngest tea leaves with the veins and stems removed from the leaves and grounded up. Such process and use of young leaves give the ceremonial grade Matcha a unique, sweet flavour and a vibrant green colour. The recommendation for this ceremonial grade is to only mix with hot water and without sweeteners to bring forth such unique flavours.
Culinary Grade Matcha
As the name suggests, this type of Matcha specifically used in conjunction with other ingredients in food and beverages. While it differs from the ceremonial grade, it isn’t a low-quality cooking ingredient by any means and is simply only made differently for differing purposes. However, it is not to say you cannot drink this type of Matcha, only it would have a different flavour profile than the ceremonial grade.
The mildly astringent flavour perfectly pairs with other flavours, allowing it to mix well with smoothies and other milk-based goods. While this type of Matcha is generally priced lower than the ceremonial grade, it contains higher antioxidant levels!
There are five subgrades of the culinary grade Matcha as listed below, each with slightly different usages –
– Premium – Premium grade is ideal for everyday consumption. It is blended well with drinks such as a matcha smoothie or a latte.
– Café – The café grade is a strongly flavoured matcha, making it the ideal match for baking and cooking.
– Ingredient – The ingredient grade pairs perfectly for recipes that contain milk and other dairy products due to its very thick levels of consistency. It is also a good compliment towards sauces and desserts.
– Kitchen – Being of the most economical brands with less delicate leaves, it is ideal for experimental recipes as well as large-scale brewing.
– Classic – The classic grade is one of the higher grades, but more economical. It has a distinct, strong flavour and is more widely available for purchase. It is a perfect compliment to many numerous food and beverage recipes.
Matcha is a high-grade green tea leaves, located from the Southern half of Japan, that is grounded into powdered form. Matcha leaves are generally planted in green tea bushes under shade due to the increase in amount of chlorophyll content, which makes them bright green and full of nutrients. The practice of stone-grounding and whisking in water first originated in China around the 10th century. This method was later popularized by the Japanese.
Unlike traditional green tea, the preparation for matcha involves a bamboo whisk and tea bowl, creating a frothy and creamy texture. The bamboo whisk is designed to suspend the matcha particles in the water and produce a smoother concoction. It can be consumed either hot or cold and even in cocktails. When you consume matcha, the entire leaf is ingested which allows you to absorb 100% of the nutrients.
Consuming matcha also accompanies various health benefits, with there being 137 times more antioxidants than the traditional green tea. It is believed to have cancer-fighting effects due to the high content of catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Furthermore, there is another antioxidant called polyphenols which links to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging. It contains higher levels of caffeine than your regular green tea, and thus helps keep you awake as well as focused. Matcha is also very known for its calming agent, a natural substance called I-theanine, which gives the consumer an ‘alert calm’ and relaxation without drowsiness. Due to all these mentioned benefits and more, matcha is considered an antioxidant powerhouse, which is why people prefer this over loose-leaf tea.
Many restaurants, cafes or even at home cooking, incorporate matcha into their meals and menus. It has been used in both sweet and savory foods. The usage of matcha has no limit to its creativity, with recipes ranging from soup, baking and stir-fried. Additionally, besides consumption, matcha has also been used in face care routines. This reiterates how all these benefits is the result in matcha being a modern-day hype for people of all ages.