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Health-preserving ingredients on the dining table

04-09 BigMediumSmall I want to comment

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Cactus, lemon grass, artichoke, Saffron, rosemary... In some countries, these plants are regarded as "health experts". What magical charm do they have and how do people in their country eat them? Let's have a look.


Cactus, a "regular" in Mexican recipes

In Mexican diets, three foods are indispensable: pepper, corn and cactus. Compared with the first two, cactus seems to have a more unique meaning. Cactus, known as the "Desert Hero Flower" is the most widely distributed species in Mexico, so Mexico is also known as the "cactus kingdom". It is worth mentioning that cactus is an indispensable element in Mexico's founding legend, national flag and emblem.

In Mexico, cactus can be found either in supermarket restaurants or in the kitchens of people's homes. Before eating, cactus needs to peel off the external spines, remove the hard edges, and then slice into pieces and boil in water, in order to remove the sour and astringent taste of cactus itself. After treatment, the cactus is no longer green and pleasant, but becomes tender and soft. The next cactus can be cooked, roasted and fried according to personal preferences. But the most common way to eat in Mexico is to eat cactus with a local snack, Taco cakes. Simply put, it's a pancake made of cornmeal, rolled up with chopped steak or other meat and cactus strips, and served with chili sauce. In addition to fresh cactus, Mexicans also like to make cactus wine, cactus jam and other foods. In Mexico, more than 300 kinds of food are made from cactus.

In the eyes of Mexicans, cactus not only tastes delicious, but also has a variety of dietary effects. For example, it is rich in dietary fiber and vegetable gum, which can help control blood sugar and is very suitable for diabetic patients to eat; many active substances in it have a good protective effect on gastric mucosa, help maintain the balance of intestinal flora and prevent constipation. In recent years, Mexico has concentrated and processed cactus into tablets or capsules for export to Japan and other countries. Therefore, some people say that cactus is a gift from God to Mexicans.


Saffron, 95% from Iran

Saffron produced in Iran is one of the most expensive spices in the world so far, and has the reputation of "spice queen".

Iran is a major producer of saffron in the world. According to Iranian official statistics, Iranian saffron production accounts for about 95% of the world's total production. Life Times reporter in Iran interviews found that large supermarkets, community convenience stores and roadside stalls, there is no lack of saffron trace, and some even written in Chinese. The processed saffron products are silky red dried flowers, which mainly add color and fragrance to cooking food. Reporters found that people in Iran can not live without saffron. They often cook various kinds of food with saffron, and often drink a kind of tea made with saffron and rose.

In Iran, saffron has many nicknames, such as "gold in flowers" and "flower of health". In the view of local people, saffron has many therapeutic effects: first, it can brighten the complexion of people and help to improve beauty; secondly, it can activate blood circulation and remove blood stasis and protect the heart; thirdly, it can improve irregular menstruation; fourthly, it can improve the blood circulation of retina, and has the effect of lowering intraocular pressure for primary glaucoma.


Artichoke, King of Spanish Vegetables

Artichoke originated from the Mediterranean coast. It was discovered and planted by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. It was later brought to Spain by explorers and is now a common ingredient in Spanish cuisine. It used to be said that Western upper class society judged whether a woman was an ideal daughter-in-law by observing whether a woman knew how to eat artichokes and whether she ate elegantly or not. There was even a saying that eating artichokes would make her enter European upper class society. The authenticity of the story is hard to verify now, but it also proves the profound influence of artichokes on Spanish life.

In Spain, artichoke is known as the "king of vegetables". Artichoke has a lotus-like appearance and rich nutrition. Besides the nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, artichoke also contains articholic acid, which can improve the vitality of the liver. In the Spanish view, eating artichoke can promote the elimination of toxins in the liver, so artichoke is a high-end vegetable with a large local consumption.

Spain produces green artichokes, big as coconuts, small as clenched fists. Although artichoke looks like lotus, its outer petals are very hard. The edible part of an artichoke is no more than 1/10, which is only the soft part at the bottom of the whole leaf and the receptacle at the center. Spaniards like to steamed the whole artichoke directly. After filtering the water, they peel off the leaves one by one and eat them with dipping materials. The more tender the central leaf is, the more edible it will be until it reaches the middle with several thin layers of purple-red leaves. These leaves have no time to open the petals, can be eaten but will have a slight astringent taste. After further peeling, you will find a flocculent mass of hair, which is not edible.

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Lemon grass, a must for Thai traditional diet

People who eat Thai food often find that many Thai dishes have a strong, fresh lemon aroma, that is, the taste of lemon grass. Lemon grass is popular among Thai people and is a necessary ingredient for traditional diet.

Lemon grass is a kind of wild plant growing in tropical and subtropical areas. It's worth mentioning that lemon grass has nothing to do with lemons except that their names are similar. Lemon grass emits a refreshing lemon fragrance. If it is directly used as food, it tastes pungent and has a cool numb tongue when chewing. In Thai food, lemon grass is more in the form of ingredients and condiments. People in Southeast Asia like to roast or fry fish and meat, and lemon grass comes in handy. The unique fragrance is very suitable for removing the fishy smell of fish, biting the mouth full of fragrance, and increasing appetite. In many heavy oil and salt Thai chafing dishes, refreshing lemon grass is also an essential ingredient for deodorizing and deoiling.

In Thai view, lemon grass is not only delicious, but also has high dietary value, such as reducing acne, strengthening stomach and diuresis, promoting digestion and refreshing brain.

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Rosemary, three meals a day with the British

In British supermarkets, you can always see a "grass" (spice crops) area, the most popular among the local people is rosemary. In addition to fresh rosemary, British supermarkets also have polished bottled products for everyone to choose from. Rosemary is used as a ingredient for its fresh and delicate branches and leaves. Rosemary powder is usually added after the dishes are cooked, in order to enhance the flavor and freshness.

The old English proverb says: Where the fragrance of rosemary is floating, the housewife is in charge. In the eyes of the British, a qualified housewife should be good at using rosemary for cooking. Rosemary, like Chinese pepper and star anise, can remove the bad smell of food and release delicious taste.

It is no exaggeration to say that rosemary exists in three meals a day in the UK. For breakfast, the British eat bread with rosemary. Roasted potatoes with rosemary are common in English lunches and dinners. In addition, when roasting mutton and steak, the British also regard rosemary as their best partner. Many Englishmen also make tea with rosemary. Whether it is fresh or dry, it can be used to make rosemary tea.

Since ancient times, rosemary has been regarded by the British as a good refreshing drug. Modern research has also confirmed that the unique smell of rosemary can enhance memory and attention. The active ingredient, salvianolic acid, protects the brain from toxins or free radicals, thereby helping to prevent stroke and dementia.