Sunday, 31 May 2009

Whole Wheat flour

Whole wheat flour is a powdery substance derived by grinding or mashing the wheat’s whole grain. The word "whole" refers to the fact that all of the grain (bran, germ and endosperm) is used and nothing is lost in the process of making the flour.

The most common type of whole wheat flour in United States is textured brown since it is made from red wheat variety.
In United Kingdom, white whole wheat flour is common which is made from soft white wheat variety.
White whole wheat has almost the same nutrient content as red whole wheat. However, soft white whole wheat has lower gluten content and contains a lower protein content (between 9% and 11%) when compared with harder wheat varieties like red (15%-16% protein content) or golden wheat. Due to higher protein content, red wheat flour needs more water than white wheat flour to prepare dough.
Soft white wheat is lacking in tannins and phenolic acid causing white whole wheat to appear and taste more like refined red wheat; it is whitish in color and does not taste bitter.

In terms of the parts of the grain used in flour, there are three general types of flour:
  • Whole wheat flour is made from the whole cereal grains which contain bran, germ and endosperm.
  • Refined white flour is made from the refined cereal grains, which contain only endosperm.
  • Germ flour is made from the endosperm and germ, excluding the bran.

Benefits of whole wheat flour:
Whole wheat flour is more nutritious than refined white flour. It contains the macronutrients of the wheat's bran and germ (especially fiber and protein).
Whole wheat is a good source of calcium, iron, fiber, and other minerals like selenium.

Drawbacks of whole wheat flour:
Whole wheat flour has a shorter shelf life than white flour, as the higher oil content leads to rancidification. It is also more expensive.
Whole wheat flour adds a certain "heaviness" in baking items like bread etc. which prevents them from rising, as good as white flours, requiring more flour to obtain the same volume. It also needs more water to prepare dough due to bran, germ and higher gluten content.

Important to note:
It is important to note that any products made with flour can have the same effect on blood sugar, whether the flour is produced from whole grains or not. For example, whole-grain wheat bread and white bread can have the same glycemic index. Grinding grains into flour increases the surface area upon which enzymes work more quickly to convert starch into glucose.

Friday, 29 May 2009


What is Bran?
is the hard outer layer of grain (the grass fruit) and consists of combined aleurone and pericarp. Bran should not be confused with chaff, which is coarser scaly material surrounding the grain, but not forming part of the grain itself.

Significance of Bran for the Seed:
  • The aleurone layer surrounds the endosperm tissue (endosperm is the part of the seed which surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch) and functions for both storage and digestion.
  • During germination, aleurone secretes the amylase enzyme that breaks down endosperm starch into sugars to nourish the growing seedling.
  • In cereals with starchy endosperm, the aleurone contains about 30% of the kernel's proteins.
  • In multicolored corn, anthocyanin pigments in the aleurone layer give the kernels a dark, bluish-black color
  • Pericarp is the tissue that develops from the ovary wall of the flower and surrounds the seeds. It provides protection to seed.

Significance of Bran for the humans:

  • Bran is particularly rich in dietary fiber. It is often used to enrich breads (notably muffins) and breakfast cereals, especially for the benefit of those wishing to increase their intake of dietary fiber.
  • Eating bran is one of the quickest and best ways to increase fiber in the diet. It is indigestible and it increases the weight and size of the stool more than the fiber contained in fruits or vegetables. It does not irritate the lining of the stomach, small intestine or colon. It is not a laxative but promotes the movement of fecal matter through the colon in a natural way. Unlike drugstore laxatives or other natural strong laxatives, bran does not quickly purge out all the contents in your colon.
  • Bran is rich in omegas. Omegas are essential fatty acids that cannot be constructed within humans from other components by any known chemical pathways, and therefore must be obtained from the diet.
  • Bran contains 12% - 13% oil and studies have shown that rice bran oil is rich in gamma-oryzanol. This includes its ability to reduce plasma cholesterol, reduce cholesterol absorption and decrease early atherosclerosis, inhibit platelet aggregation, and increase fecal bile acid excretion. Oryzanol has also been used to treat nerve imbalance and disorders of menopause.
  • Bran contains significant quantities of starch, protein, vitamins, and dietary minerals.
    Rice bran contains various antioxidants that impart beneficial effects on human health.
  • Bran oil may be also extracted for use by itself for industrial purposes (such as in the paint industry), or as a cooking oil, such as rice bran oil.
  • Studies have shown that some of the nutrients and phytochemicals present in wheat bran, may also protect against cancer. These include phytic acid and various phenolic components such as phenolic acids, lignans and flavonoids.
  • Rice bran oil's smoke point is 490 degrees F, higher than even grapeseed oil (480 degrees) or peanut oil (320 - 450 degrees). This means that even in the hottest of situations, rice bran oil won't smoke or breakdown. When cooking or grilling, you do not want your oil to smoke, because it imparts a negative flavor to the foods so when you use rice bran oil foods will taste better, and they will be less likely to stick to the grill or griddle.

Important to note:

  • Some research suggests that there are particularly high levels of inorganic arsenic (a toxin and carcinogen) present in rice bran, and that any health benefits may not be worth the potential detriments. Other types of bran (derived from wheat, oat or barley) contain less arsenic than rice bran.
  • Due to the high oil content of bran, it tends to get rancid (decomposition of fats, oils and other lipids by hydrolysis or oxidation). To avoid rancidification it is best to store in refrigerator or in a vacuum-sealed container at a moderate temperature.Rancidification makes the bran bitter.

Significance of Bran for animals:

  • Bran is widely used as a major component in pet foods for rabbits and guinea pigs.
  • Rice bran is sometimes fed to horses for its nutritional value, particularly as a plant-based fat supplement. It is considered an excellent way to put weight onto a thin horse, without the problems associated with overfeeding grain.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Is there any difference between Meat and Mutton?

For centuries goat meat has been enjoyed throughout the Middle East, Asia and in many European countries. In fact, it is one of the most commonly consumed meats in the world.

In India, along with many Eastern Countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore, the term mutton refers to Goat's meat and usually not to sheep's meat. Often, the so-called mutton curries of the Indian cuisine use goat meat when cooked at home, although in Indian restaurants sheep meat is often used.

In the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, the word “mutton” is used to describe both goat and lamb meat.

Goat Meat:
In USA goat meat is known as goat meat. But in UK and parts of Europe, goat meat is known as Chevon.
Chevon may be goat from 48 to 60 pounds and 6 to 9 months of age.

Cabrito is meat from very young, milk fed goats between 4 and 8 weeks of age. The meat is tender, juicy and very lean and tasty at this age.
The term Capretto comes from the Italian term “kidgoat”.

Sheep Meat:
Lamb, hogget, and mutton are the meat of domestic sheep. Because of dramatically differing economic values of each type of animal (lamb being the most expensive), classification systems have developed to ensure consumers receive the product they have purchased.

The strict definitions for lamb, hogget and mutton vary considerably between countries.
In New Zealand for example, they are defined as follows:

Lamb — it is a young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear. It has a carcass weight of between 5.5 and 30 kilograms (12 and 65 lbs).
This meat generally is tenderer than that from older sheep and appears more often on tables in some Western countries. In certain cuts of meat the younger animal is felt to be more tender and delicate and is therefore more highly valued. Because of the confusion in the usage of the word "lamb" mentioned above, meat from the young animal is often referred to in Australia as "spring lamb" - i.e. meat from an animal born only last spring.

Hogget refers to meat from an animal between one and two years old and with two or four adult teeth. It can be a young male sheep or maiden ewe having no more than two permanent incisors in wear. A common name used in Australia is "two-tooth". It is regarded as being a little tougher than lamb but more flavorful.

Mutton refers to meat from an animal that has passed its second birthday. It can be a female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear. Traditionalists argue that mutton is always the meat from a wether (a wether is a castrated male sheep; it is thought that castration improves the taste of some meats).
A more contemporary view is that mutton comes from a breeding ewe (female) that has reached the end of its productive life.It can sometimes be quite tough and generally has more flavor than lamb and hogget.

Hogget and mutton have a stronger flavor than lamb because they contain a higher concentration of species-characteristic fatty acids and are preferred by some.
Mutton and hogget also tend to be tougher than lamb (because of connective tissue maturation) and are therefore better suited to casserole-style cooking.

Are Goat and Sheep, same nutritionally?

The taste of goat meat is similar to that of lamb meat.
Nutritionally, Goat meat is lower than mutton in fat and cholesterol. It also has more minerals than chicken, and is lower in total and saturated fats than many other meats.
As it ranks right up with chicken and fish in the low fat department, it is being recommended for a heart-healthy diet comparable to chicken. Chevon is therefore classified as a white meat.
One reason for the leanness is that goats do not accumulate fat deposits or "marbling" in their muscles like cows or pigs.

Goat leg has the lowest fat content compared to other parts of the goat. It supplies high quality protein along with healthy fat. There is no worry about pesticide or heavy chemical residue as there will be with fish, nor worry about hormones or antibiotics as would be with grocery store chicken. Most of the fat which is present is external and that can be trimmed easily.

Goat meat is one of the best sources of zinc and iron.
It also has B group vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin B actually helps to burn fat cells. It has choline and selenium which is known to prevent cancer.

Goat meat is approximately the equivalent in caloric value to chicken and has less than half the calories of beef per serving.

This is desirable for persons with a need to reduce their caloric intake. Overall, goat meat is similar in most nutrients to other species, but the cholesterol content of goat meat is slightly higher than beef or chicken.

In the end we can say that Chevon (or goat meat) is rapidly gaining popularity as a low-fat, nutritionally dense meat.