Sexy foods

What do asparagus, garlic, eggs, oyster and almonds all have in common? Well apparently,they put you in the mood and help blood flow to your sexy parts.

So if you’re really struggling to get into someones pants, maybe making a meal with all these ingredients (above) would help? Or possibly a personality change?

Asparagus

A member of the lily family which can put you in a romantic mood. I’m sorry to say though asparagus just aint that sexy. In the 19th century in France, grooms were served aspagarus before- well pudding in bed? and with a little added ginger, the blood will be pumping away in their circulatory system.

Garlic

I know garlic can be used as an ailment for colds and to add flavour to bland chicken, but who would’ve thought this nasty smelling garlic could act as an aphrodisiac? To be honest, who even discovered its aphrodisiac properties? There are some different people out there.

Eggs

Well this list is just getting better. Yes you read right, eggs. I guess it is a symbol of the reproductive system, that may be stimulating to some people? Interesting. I have nothing left to say about this one.

Oysters

Ahh here’s one that’s a little well known. Casanova’s secret, and ever since that time over 200 years ago people have been using oysters to woo their potential lovers. But is there any scientific evidence proving this to be true? and all the rest of these aphrodisiacs? Oysters contain a lot of zinc, which is important in raising testosterone levels in men, but let’s not be silly here, it won’t be as effective as Popeye’s transformation when he eats a can of spinach. Dopamine is also found in oysters and these as we know stimulate arousal in our brains and could actually have an immediate effect. However, you’d have to consume a lot for it to be effective on your libido.

But this is again a subjective thing. Some people might not like the pungent smell of garlic, some might love it. Same goes with the slippery texture of oysters, the smell of cooked eggs. Whatever tickles your fancy.

I could’ve covered the typical aphrodisiacs that we all know of, but what’s the fun in that? If you know of any other interesting ones, let me know! I’d love to share it!

Read more: http://au.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt/56_eating_well.html#ixzz2UiMqPrc0

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pacific_oysters_01_.jpg

Red stimulates hunger

Ever noticed fast food outlets use the colour red for their signs?

(KFC, Pizza Hut and Maccas just to name a few)

This wasn’t an accident. These guys knew exactly what they were doing. When you see the colour red, what do you associate it with? blood? tomatoes? roses? anger? stop signs?

Humans have come to associate colours with actions, objects and feelings. We emotionally react to the colour red (same with blue), I’m not perfectly sure why, but I will try my best to understand and tell you guys about it.

Several psychological studies have found that red is associated with appetite, so when most of us see the colour red, our appetites increase as well as out heart rate, perhaps why red is associated with “sexy” things as well, but basically these food outlets have made the most of this information and used it to have inexpensive but powerful ways to draw customers in to dine with them.

What I’m trying to say is this ‘colour perception is built in you on how you react or feel the way you do about certain colours . All your life experiences and learnings have led to this. For example, you might associate red with danger as well (fire is red and it is bad and dangerous) and that green means good (nature, go sign and so on).

One study also showed that sometimes the colour of a kick boxers uniform may affect the perception of judges and competitors on those kick boxers. The study showed that judges perceived that the fighter wearing red won more fights than the fighter in blue. Even when these fighters swapped colours, it was still perceived the same.

So back to red stimulating appetite. I’m not entirely sure how or why this is, but it definitely does influence our appetites, even if you don’t notice it. Another explanation is you don’t eat foods that are blue right? A lot of the food we do it is associated with red (meat, fruits and vegetables). So maybe the next time you see blue food (blue cheese?) you might not feel as hungry as you were. Blue food is unnatural and therefore your brain is not use to processing that as real food.

I always wondered why I was never really attracted to food outlets that were painted in cream or white- for some reason I associate these colours with bathrooms and hospitals.

So maybe if you’re trying to avoid these places, you could wear those funky purple round glasses (like the BeeGees did) and mask the colour red for the rest of your life. Or you could recondition/brainwash yourself to thinking red means go to the gym. Hmm, I might give that one a go.

If you want to know more check out the link below:

http://www.bluesky-web.com/color.htm

Chocolate Makes You Happy

Ever felt stressed and a little down you head down to the supermarket and treat yourself to a 250 gram block of chocolate goodness?Mmm, I definitely have.

Are we made to think that chocolate makes us feel good? Or does it actually have an effect on our happiness levels?

Many of us like to associate chocolate with comfort and happy food, and there is science behind this, thank goodness for us who like to indulge in chocolate every now and then.

So what role does chocolate have to play in this?

The main ingredient of chocolate is cocoa, which come from cacao trees in Central and South America. I could imagine it’ll be difficult to measure exactly the effects of chocolate on an individual’s happiness. However, most people (including myself) believe these effects exist.

A few researchers looked at the correlation between a person’s lifestyle and health with the amount of chocolate they like to eat (or not). The study found that those who preferred chocolate as their number one candy showed less frequencies of depression and loneliness had a more optimistic outlook on life. So what would be the cause of this?

I’m always so amazed by the human body- We have our own “uplifting” chemicals that make us feel good and “happy”. These chemicals are called ‘endorphins’, which I’m sure many of you have heard before. According to studies chocolate can stimulate neural pathways in the brain to release these ‘feel-good’ chemicals (endorphins) which result in well you feeling good. I wonder if James Brown was a chocoholic (if you don’t get this, you need to get cultured).

However, it is important to remember that a bar of chocolate a day is probably too much, as you could be over-loading your system with sugar. It’s best to keep your consumption of chocolate to a minimum and when you’re feeling down and out.

Some people have even referred to chocolate as a natural pain-killer, and a survey found that the majority of women asked if they prefer chocolate over sex, responded with a yes. However, it is important to note this is not an anti-depressant or an alternative pain killer, and it sure is not going to replace your non-existent sex-life.

Chocolate cravings can simply be a cause of stress in life, and I actually think when you indulge in a piece of chocolate it takes you back to the first time you experienced that taste, a much simpler and happier time, but what do I know?

There is also a lot if science out there proving that chocolate is not directly linked to your levels of happiness.

But just to add to this, “happiness” is one of those subjective things, and science hates that,  err I hate that sometimes, how the heck am I meant to write about chocolate making the whole world a better place, when it has different effects on different people? So this also makes it hard to research and study, but again, I’m sure there are bigger things in this world that really do make you feel good.

So even if science doesn’t tell us what chocolate really does to our stress levels and happiness. Does it really matter? If chocolate really makes you feel good, really, who is gonna stop you? Happy living happy people!

http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/indepth.food/sweets/chocolate.cravings/

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/chocolate-high3.htm

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B%26W_Happiness.jpg

Three of the Healthiest Countries

Great news, we are living longer lives compared to a century ago but this doesn’t mean we’re living to our full potential. With busier lives and the convenience of fast-food chains, we seem to rely on these instead of cooking at home. The obesity rates in the developed world are frightening, but I’m not gonna talk about that. I want to look at the healthiest people in the world by exploring three countries with the healthiest lifestyles- and you could argue they live happy lives too. Take a look.

Japan

I have referred to Japan a few times in my blogs, so it seems appropriate to mention them in this. They have been rated by the World Health Organisation as most healthiest country in the world. Much of this is due to their fish-rich diet. The general life expectancy of those who live in Japan is 82.5 years. They are the largest consumers of fish (Omega-3 rich diets) as well as soy and green tea. Sushi being one of the most popular Japanese foods in the Western World. Ahh- fortunately I love seafood, I could actually live in Japan for this reason.

Iceland

Surprised? Same! Well Iceland has a very small population, and this could be the reason why it’s one of the cleanest and least polluted countries. The citizens of Iceland are considered active gym-goers, mainly to beat the winter blues. Nearly as high as Japan, the life expectancy of Icelanders is 82.36 years. They also have the lowest infant mortality rate (2 infants per 1,000 babies).

Italy

The most common Italian foods are olive oil, legumes, fish and fresh produce in Italy and when pizzas and pastas are made traditionally- they provide great health benefits. Italians are especially famous for their high consumption of olive oil, which can actually lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. To add to this, olive oil has recently been connected to reducing the risks of Alzheimer’s disease. So you could say this combined with a healthy lifestyle would contribute to the average Italian’s elongated lifespan. Life expectancy: 82.09 years (in 2011). Pizza, pasta and red wine (why not?), Italians are living it up!

So I guess what we can take from these countries are things we might already know.

1.Cook at home more often (Italian styles- go and take a class or something)

2.Go and workout- even when its cold (Come on Icelanders do it!) No cold shall stand in your way of getting that bikini bod- even if no one is gonna see it

3.Eat a lot of fish and seafood! Fortunately for me I love my seafood and I am going to say it a hundred times- I just need to give 1 and 2 a go.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salmon_and_Tuna_Nigiri_Sushi,_2008.jpg

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/8708816/Secrets-of-the-worlds-healthiest-countries

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-countries-with-the-healthiest-people.html#ixzz2UTvyWA6C

Are MSG foods for you?

Okay, so the image seems a bit dodgy but I can assure you its just MSG……. or is it?

It’s in your fast-food, sauces and crispy chips. MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of the amino acid ‘glumate acid’. It is a little controversial, considering we don’t exactly know the effects of MSG on out bodies.

Origin?

MSG was created by isolating the glutamic acid in the seaweed which is used in making the traditional Japanese broth (kombu dashi). A Japanese scientist, Professor  Ikeda was the discoverer of the orginal glutamate from kombu, he knew he had discovered the 5th taste known as Umami. By adding glutamte to water and salt he formed MSG, in which people he published his findings had patented before it hit the global market. He had originally created a table condiment known as ‘Aji-no-moto’ which means ‘essence of taste’.

Professor Ikadea then realised that they could save money by making glutamate from products other than seaweed and salt- Instead, fermented molasses (which is a thick dark sugary syrup) or wheat was used to produce MSG.

From this point MSG was recognised as a food additive and according to the World Health Organisation, MSG is a safe food additive.

As we could imagine, Professor Ikeda died a rich man in 1936, and in Japan is known as one of Japan’s greatest inventors.

What does it taste like?

As sugar is to sweet, lemon is to sour, glutamate (in MSG) is to umami. Yes, UMAMI, the 5th taste next to sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It has been described as  “meaty” and “savoury”

What is it used for?

If you don’t know or haven’t guessed already MSG is used as a food additive. The food industry use MSG as a “flavour enhancer” because apparently it balances, blends and rounds the perception of other tastes. It is commonly used as a food additive in fast foods and many commercially packaged food products such as potato chips, crackers, soup mixes, dressings, sauces and many many more.

So is it good for you?

MSG is the cause of a huge controversial topic, some do not mind it at all, whereas others are fully against the use and therefore the consumption of MSG-flavoured foods. It is definitely something that you personally need to understand and decide for yourself.

What are some recorded harmful effects?

Some of the recorded harmful effects include headaches, sweating, numbness, nausea and weakness. However, studies have not yet found a link between MSG and these symptoms. However, again like other food products, it is something personal for you as a consumer to decide whether you accept its use or not.

The Guardian brings up a good point- If MSG is so bad why are countries such as Japan (where MSG originates from) not complaining about any of these side effects, in fact, Japanese and Chinese people and especially cooks embrace the use of MSG in their foods. 

However, the fact that MSG (which is labelled as a “flavour enhancer”-see image) is added to almost everything in the supermarket besides fresh meat and produce  can seem unethical. This includes baby food, chewing gum, bread and many low-fat ready-to-eat dinner meals. Take a look in your pantry and see if you can spot “flavor enhancer” in the ingredients of your foods. Companies are legally obliged to show if they have added to MSG to their products.

20130527_093656

It is definitely something I encourage people to look into and decide for themselves whether its for them. If not, you are going to have to cut almost every processed food from your diet- which is not a bad thing.

When I can afford to live on MSG-free foods I will- for now crackers and chocolate biscuits help me through my late study nights.

Weird and Rare Food Allergies

I wanted to look at the weirdest and strangest food allergies recorded. You’ll be surprised and maybe unconvinced at first, but trust me dear readers, these are real.

1. Bird/Egg Allergy

It’s exactly what it sounds like, an allergic reaction to birds (feathers, meat, droppings…) and the ingestion of eggs. However, it is mainly developed after repeated exposure to the birds droppings and feathers, so you could imagine this may happen to chicken farmers or any other person exposed to birds frequently (I’m not too sure if this includes bird watchers), but this is weird.

2. Water Allergy

Say what?

Imagine being allergic to water! How is this even possible when about 60% of your body is made up of water! The true name for this condition is ‘aquagenic urticaria’. Michaela Dutton who is a mother, found it difficult to help her crying son as she could not wipe away his tears, because the smallest drop of water on her skin could cause a very painful reaction. When she consumes water, blisters form on her lips and mouth almost instantly. Although, scientists are unable to find the exact trigger, they believe the rashes are caused by histamines, which are chemicals released by mast cells in the skin, when the skin makes contact with water

3. An allergy to cold or room temperature fruit and vegetables

This seems a little funny, but it’s true, some people actually suffer from these allergies. Where eating room temperature fruit causes them to swell, have difficulty breathing and cough a lot. This may be due to the proteins present at room temperature that make contact with these foods and it could also be a related allergy to seasonal pollen allergies. Cooked fruits and vegetables do not seem to affect the the victims of this allergy.

4. Food odour allergies

So there are food allergies and food odour allergies, this may seem a bit weird at first but when you think about it, foods emit chemicals when you cook them, that’s why you are able to smell it! The most common types of food odour allergies are seafood, and the case is usually ‘if you’re allergic to the smell of fish, well you are probably allergic to fish’. People who know they have an allergic reaction to fish probably don’t want to hang out with you while you’re frying up a pan of fish and shellfish. In saying this, food odour allergies are extremely rare.

5. Allergic to nearly everything in the supermarket

This poor child Tyler can only eat a small variety of foods, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Anything else in the kitchen pantry will cause a severe allergic reaction in Tyler’s body, from vomiting to bleeding. Doctors are baffled at how this is possible, and as an infant, Tyler couldn’t even drink his own mother’s breast milk.

If you know of any weird or rare food allergies please share!

To read more about Tyler click the following link: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/weird-food-allergy-stresses-moms-baffles-doctors/story?id=18843611#.UZbAPbUQ6So

And the other allergies, check out the links below:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1172102/Mothers-allergy-water-means-drink-bathe-wipe-away-sons-tears.html#ixzz2Taxil3mc

http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/allergies/unusual-food-allergies-1

http://www.invigorate360.com/reviews/10-most-bizarre-food-allergies/

http://www.ask.com/question/what-is-bird-egg-syndrome

Foods That Make You Sleepy

1. Honey

Sweet, heavenly and sticky honey. Yes, something that has been used by a number of different cultures for a variety of reasons.

Humans have been collecting honey for over 10,000 years and not just for its sweetening purposes either. The oldest evidence of honey being collected by humans has been traced back to a cave in beautiful Valencia, Spain, which I hope to visit one day.

The Egyptians used it as a form of currency (similar to gold) which they mixed into wines and offered it to their superiors and gods.Germans have used it to sweeten alcoholic beverages such as mead, cider and beer, and the Indigenous people of US America used it to preserve fruit and as a base for herbal medicines, what some of you may not know it can actually help you sleep at night.

Honey contains glucose, which tells your brain to stop making a chemical known as orexin,which is known to trigger alertness. So if you’re having sleeping issues and want to get some rest, take a teaspoon of honey an hour before bed, that should do the trick.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal for breakfast is a lot more common than oatmeal for bed, but according to research, it can actually help you go to sleep. The famous Dr Oz explains on his website that the typical cereal grain is made from the herb Avena sativa. This herb is known in traditional medicine to have a calming and “soothing” effect on your nervous system, in terms of coping with stress stimulants in your body.

Interestingly enough, ‘Avena sativa’ is also known as “Nature’s Viagra”, apparently it can increase your libido and is a popular alternative to pharmaceutical erection enhancers. So if you’re feeling down…..and out, perhaps a little oatmeal could help you biologically cope with stressors and sleep better.

3. Almonds

As well as make you feel full (help you eat smaller portions), almonds have been found to induce sleep as well. It is a great source of Magnesium, and Insomnia has been linked to very low levels of Magnesium. It is also known as a “natural tranquillizer” which says a lot. It effective works similar to Avena sativa and is referred to as an anti-stressor. It helps calm the nervous system and allows you to relax your muscles and sleep deeply through the night.

Bravo almonds, you could almost be one of my best super foods! (read my earlier blogs on almonds)

 

to be continued……

For more information, check out these websites

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/what-eat-deep-sleep?page=3

http://www.realbeauty.com/health/wellness/sleep-inducing-foods#slide-3

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/living-with-insomnia-11/natural-solutions