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Things you need to know about nuts- Almond

Almond (Terminalia catappa Linn)

Annongu reported the world production of almond fruits to be 0.7 million tonnes with Nigeria producing 0.1 million tonnes annually in 2005. There are two types of almondthe sweet variety which do not contain amygdalin and are widely used as edible nuts and food ingredients and bitter almonds commonly grown for its oil used as flavouring after eliminating amygdalin. Amygdalin is an enzyme, which causes the hydrolysis of the fruit to glucose, benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid.

almond-tree
Almond Tree

The tree bears a fruit which turns from green to purplish yellow when ripe and contains a hard shell or nut. The ripe mesocarp commonly referred to as fruit by many Nigerians, is mostly consumed by children as forage snack with the shell and kernels often discarded. The kernel is also used by many rural dwellers in southern Nigeria to fortify the local complementary foods, which are usually low in protein.

fruit
Almond Fruit

Almonds contains 10.0 mg/100mg of Phosphorus, 5.0 mg/100mg Sodium, 350 mg/100mg Potassium, 375 mg/100mg Iron, 26.4 mg/100mg calcium, and 36.1 mg/100mg magnesium (Akpabio, 2012). They also contain 187mg/100mg of phytosterols (Ruggio et al., 2005), which are associated with cholesterol-lowering properties. In 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in one of its reports said, almond is a good source of nutrients such as vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), arginine, and potassium. Almonds also contain: a variety of phenolic compounds which are located in their skin and have shown to be protective agents against cancer and cardiovascular diseases, globulins and amino acids.

kernel
Almond Kernel

According to Grieve, almonds can be used medicinally for allaying acrid juice softening and relaxing solids and in bronchial diseases, in tickling coughs, hoarseness, and nephritic pains and because they contain practically no starch and being rich in protein, they are often made into flour for cakes and biscuits for diabetic patients. The skins can be used in cattle feed and in gasification plants to produce and as a useful ingredient for the control of oxidative processes in food products due to its high fibre content. The kernel can be blended into a creamy liquid with the addition of water (Almond Milk).

 

The nutrient profile of almonds (high monounsaturated fat, low saturated fat, cholesterol free and source of nutrients like fibre, vitamin E and Magnesium) makes them an ideal fit in a heart healthy lifestyle. Incorporate almonds in your diet today.

References

Azor A. Annongu, Niyi J. Ogundun, Kolade J. Joseph and Veronica Awopetu (2005).      Changes in chemical composition and bioassay assessment of nutritional potentials of      almond fruit waste as an alternative feedstuff for livestock. BIOKEMISTRI, 18(1):pp25-30

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Grieve, 1981. A Modern Herbal: Almonds. Stedman Shorter’s Medical Dictionary

Phillips, K.M., Ruggio, D.M., Ashraf-Khorassani, M. (2005a) Analysis of steryl glucosides in       foods and dietary supplements by solid-phase extraction and gas chromatography. J.  Food Lipids 12:124–140.

U.D Akpabio (2012). Evaluation of proximate composition, mineral element and anti-nutrient       in almond (Terminalia catappa) seeds. Advances in Applied Science Research 3(4):   2247-2252

USDA, 2014. California Almond Forecast. United States Department of Agriculture.       National Agricultural Statistics Service, California Field Office (PDF) Retrieved      2015-12-08

 

How coconuts’ water came to be.

Years ago, while I was still in my third year back in school, I was privileged to attend a seminar on Coconut. At the end of the seminar, the presenter (a lady) was asked the question; “how can you explain the water found in a coconut?”, she replied with a popular saying “only God can explain the mystery behind it” (not scientific right?, yeah I know). Well everyone present clapped for her (I dont know if we were clapping for the answer or the way she said it with confidence though), but yeah she killed it (the presentation I mean). So after our little display of appreciation, a professor stood up, looked around, and what followed made me understand Benjamin disraeli’s quote about ignorance never settling a question. He said (not his exact words though), “coconut sucks water from the ground through its phloem cells and uses it for photosynthesis (you know means plants sort for their food), now during transpiration water is lost, though some plants lose much water coconut absorbs more and loses little. Now this water is the endosperm of the plant and as the coconut ages, that clear liquid solidifies and turns into the white meat that we’re used to seeing inside the fruit”.

BREADFRUIT

Breadfruit commonly known as Ji enu and Ukwa by the Igbos, is a member of the Moraceae family. It is a tropical tree commonly grown in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, South Pacific, the Caribbean and Central America, that produces a large, round starchy fruit. This fruit can be used as a vegetable and sometimes to make flour.

SPECIES OF BREADFRUIT

There are two main species;

  • Breadnuts (Artocarpus camansi): known as the wild ancestors of breadfruits and are commonly found in New Guinea, Indonesia, and possibly the Philippines.

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  • Seedless breadfruits (Artocarpus altilis): usually light green, yellowish-green or yellow in color when matured. In Nigeria, it is predominantly found in the South-West; Ile-Ife, Ikire, Ogbomosho, Akure and Ekiti.

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NUTRITIONAL COMPOSITION OF BREADFRUIT

Content Nutrient Value
Total calories 103Kcal
Carbohydrates 27.12g
Dietary fiber 4.9g
Ash 0.93g
Water 40.65
Sugar 111g
Protein 1.07g
Vitamin C 29mg
Total fat 0.23g
Polyunsaturated fatty acid 0.066g
Saturated fatty acid 0.048
Methionine 0.01g
Lysine 0.037g
Cysteine 0.009g
Calcium 17mg

 

UTILIZATION OF BREADFRUITS

  • Breadfruits can be mixed with yam in the preparation of pounded yam
  • The pulp can be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, or fried like yam
  • It can be fried like plantain chips
  • It can be made into porridge
  • It can be processed into flour
  • It can be cooked with coconut cream
  • It can be used as a complementary food
  • As bread made from fermented breadfruit flour
  • As sweet snack made from preserved paste

BENEFITS OF BREADFRUITS

HEALTH BENEFITS 

  • Breadfruit helps the body develop resistance against infections due to the presence of antioxidants
  • It helps reduce blood pressure in the body due to the presence of potassium
  • It helps in regulating heart rate by minimizing the effects of Sodium
  • It reduces cholesterol level
  • Source of energy
  • Aids digestion

SKIN BENEFITS OF BREADFRUITS

  • Breadfruit helps to prevent excessive skin inflammation
  • High amount of vitamin C in breadfruit helps in the production of collagen
  • It encourages new cell growth
  • It cures skin infections
  • Treat skin diseases

Breadfruit benefits the body as it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which stimulates skin and hair growth, regulate metabolism and promote bone health. It inhibits the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes and prevents overproduction of nitric oxides,thus preventing skin inflammation.

STORAGE AND ITS EFFECTS ON BREADFRUIT

Breadfruit  is stored under water to delay its ripening process and extend its shelf life for a few more days.

  • Research by Ragone in 2006 showed that, storing in cool place or under water delayed ripening by 3-5 days
  • Research by Worrell  in 2002 showed that, storing at low temperature (13°C) delayed ripening for about 10 days
  • Storage at temperatures between 12-16°C delays ripening for a maximum of about 20 days.

Compiled: ARIGBEDE Titilope 

Do you have any other information on breadfruit? Leave a comment

 

 

FOOD POISONING

Food as defined by Codex Alimentarius Comission is any substance whether processed, semi processed or raw, which is intended for human consumption. It includes; chewing gum, drinks and any substance which has been used in the manufacture, preparation or treatment of food.

Food poisoning results from the indigestion of contaminated food or water that contains bacteria, parasites, viruses, or the toxins made by these germs. It can also be a result of eating poisonous plants e.g mushroom and animals e.g pufferfish. It can be referred to as Food borne Diseases or Illness.

THE FOOD POISONING CHAIN

  • A bacteria must be present
  • The bacteria must have the right conditions to grow i.e warmth (between 5°C – 60°C ), moisture and foodtdz
  • The bacteria must have the time to grow and multiply

HIGH RISK FOODS

Some high risk foods include:

  • meat,
  • poultry,
  • dairy product,
  • eggs,
  • seafood,
  • cooked rice,
  • pasta,
  • salads,
  • coleslaw,
  • pasta salads, and
  • fruit salads.

PEOPLE AT RISK

Everybody is at risk of food poisoning but the elderly, babies and pregnant women are mostly at risk due to their weak immune systems.

CAUSES OF FOOD POISONING

  1. Physical causes: presence of bone/bone chips, metal flakes, peces of product packaging material, stones, insects e.t.c.
  2. Chemical causes: presence of pesticides, insecticides, incomplete removal of cyanide in cassava processing e.t.c.
  3. Biological causes: could be parasite, virus or bacteria infection. Some of this is illustrated below:

Bacteria

bacteria1

bacteria2

Parasites

parasites

Viruses

viruses

Source:  Food poisoning, Mayo Clinic staff © 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Overall causes include:

  •  Improper storage of foods (always store wet foods below dry ones)
  • Ensure Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
  • Mode of preparation
  • Poor hygiene
  • Improper food handling

SYMPTOMS

Salmonella typhi induced symptoms: fever, chills, aches, swollen lymph nodes

Staphylococcus aureus induced symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea

Salmonella induced symptoms: lower abdominal cramps, diarrhea

Clostridium botulinum induced symptoms: Vertigo, visual disturbances, paralysis

PREVENTION

  • Good personal hygiene

hygiene

  • Avoid cross contamination (never pass wet foods over dry ones, never touch foods immediately after touching meat)

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  • Pest and animal control
  • Avoid the temperature danger zone
  • Cook properly

be-food-safe

  • Avoid spoiled foods and foods in damaged containers or packaging
  • Training of food handlers both at home or in a food premises in safe food handling

CONCLUSION

Food poisoning is inevitable but can be prevented. and as such it is important to adequately clean, chill, separate and cook foods properly.

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