High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Health Tip: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hello Everyone! I am back on Amcarmen’s Kitchen for the year and I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese Family, Friends, and Followers! May the Year of the Golden Rooster bring you and your family your family Happiness that comes from within, the best of Luck to keep you pushing, and Peace in all days of this New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜發財!

Now, before I move on to this evening’s post, I just want to clarify to those who haven’t read or been following my blog last month – I did mention that I would be taking a break from Amcarmen’s Kitchen due to the fact that I had a hectic schedule for the past few weeks, preventing me from having the energy to be in the kitchen on my only day off for the month of January. When the New Year kicked in, I had been staying a little later in the office every night to expedite the completion of the many design collaterals needed for the 19th Consumer Fair that happened just last week from the 18th to the 22nd of January 2017. Right after the Consumer Fair, we had family friends visiting us for 5 days, and then I had a Car Launching Event to manager alongside another colleague just 2 days ago. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the start of the year and I still haven’t been able to have a good rest as the inevitable post-Consumer Fair virus decided to kick in. I am currently, and slowly recovering from a blocked nose, an itchy throat, and a migraine as I am writing this post. Thank goodness for the long weekend ahead, otherwise I wouldn’t be seeing myself recovering for the next week or so.

Now, all that aside, let’s get onto tonight’s post! Tonight will be something different, but it will serve as the ultimate guideline for the year to come. As you can see from the title, the main focus of this post is to target High Blood Pressure, or also known as, Hypertension. In my recent trip to the Philippines, back in the middle of 2016, I underwent a health check as part of my requirement to process my employment permit to work in Brunei. It was then that I found that I suffer from high blood pressure. I admit that when I found out about this, I was feeling a little bit depressed; and whilst I was still in the Philippines back then awaiting for the approval of my employment visa, I sat down and started researching on hypertension and what foods to eat/avoid to help regulate blood pressure levels. Ever since I found out about my blood pressure levels being exceedingly high, I have also made changes to the food I eat, and have tried to become more active in my lifestyle habits.

High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension, is a serious health problem, where over time it causes blood vessel damage that can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other health problems. Hypertension is sometimes known as the silent killer because there are no real symptoms to detect whether or not you are prone High Blood Pressure. If you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly, hypertension could go unnoticed, and untreated, for years.

Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. It is also suggested that you eat more foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more high-fibre, low-sodium, low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Here are 20 foods & drinks that you should include in your daily diet to help prevent, lower, or control your high blood pressure naturally without the need for medication:

1. Avocado – All you need is about half a medium-sized avocado everyday as it provides 1% of the calcium, 5% of the magnesium, and 10% of the potassium that you need daily. The dark green flesh just under an avocado’s brittle skin contains large amounts of disease-fighting compounds.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Avocados


2. Bananas – Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or take one to work everyday for a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack. One medium-sized banana provides 1% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 12% of the potassium you need daily.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Bananas


3. Beets – People with High Blood Pressure saw significant improvements from drinking beetroot juice. The nitrates found in the juice brought down one’s high blood pressure within just 24 hours. If you’re not too keen on drinking beetroot juice, you can easily roast or steam the whole root and add it to a green-packed salad, stir-fry, or stews.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Beets


4. Berries – Blueberries especially, are rich in natural compounds where when consumed, is known to prevent hypertension and reduce high blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet; put them in your cereal every morning or keep some in the freezer for a quick and healthy dessert.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Berries


5. Broccoli – This cruciferous vegetable is a famous source of cancer-fighting nutrients. One cup of cooked broccoli provides 6% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium, and 14% of the potassium you need everyday.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Broccoli


6. Celery – To lower mild cases of high blood pressure, one would eat about a cup of chopped celery daily. You should begin to see results after only a week or two. Celery contains a chemical that smoothes the muscles lining blood vessels, which increases vessel diameter and allows for easier blood flow at lower pressures.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Celery


7. Fat-free Plain Yogurt – Cool and creamy, yogurt is a star ingredient in mineral-rich breakfasts, sauces and salad dressings, and even in entrée dishes. You can control the fat and nutrient content by making your own yogurt at home for your high blood pressure diet. Here’s a recipe to making your own yogurt at home.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Fat-free Plain Yoghurt


8. Hibiscus Tea – Hibiscus tea has been a traditional remedy for high blood pressure and one that must be used continuously to maintain its positive results. Look specifically for tea made from Hibiscus sabdariffa. It is generally made from the flowers and fruit of the plant.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Hibiscus Tea


9. Kiwi – Kiwis contain more vitamin C than a same-size serving of orange slices. One kiwifruit provides 2% of the calcium, 7% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Kiwis


10. Leafy Greens – Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula (rocket), kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure. Stray away from canned vegetables though as they contain high amounts of sodium; instead, opt for frozen vegetables as they contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables and are easy to store.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Leafy Greens


11. Oatmeal – Oatmeal for your breakfast is a great way to charge up for the day. It is high-fibre, low-fat, and low-sodium, which is essentially just what you need to help lower your blood pressure. On its own, oatmeal can be bland; however, you should refrain from adding too much sugar. Instead, add fresh or frozen berries (see point 4) to sweeten it up, and maybe just a touch of honey.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Oatmeal


12. Peaches & Nectarines – Frozen unsweetened peach slices are a great alternative to fresh peaches and nectarines on a high blood pressure diet. Just defrost ahead of time or, for smoothies, simply toss in the blender. One medium peach or nectarine provides 1% of the calcium, 3% of the magnesium, and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Peaches & Nectarines


13. Pomegranate Juice – The pomegranate has been revered as the “fruit of life.” One of its remarkable powers is to improve cardiovascular health. If you drink pomegranate juice to naturally lower your blood pressure, be sure your juice has no added sugars.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pomegranate Juice


14. Pork Tenderloin – Meat lover’s can now rejoice! You’re probably wondering how pork even made it onto this list, well just 85 grams (3 oz) of pork tenderloin provide 6% of the magnesium and 15% of the potassium you need every day. This lean cut provides plenty of meaty flavour and satisfaction without the overload of saturated fat found in fattier types of beef and pork.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Pork Tenderloin


15. Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes – Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. One medium sweet potato with the skin provides 4% of the calcium, 8% of the magnesium (7% without the skin), and 15% of the potassium (10% without the skin) you need every day. Bake several sweet potatoes at one time so you’ll have a ready supply for quick smoothies and other recipes.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes


16. Quinoa – This high-protein whole grain has a mild yet nutty flavour, contains a variety of health-protecting nutrients along with an impressive amount of magnesium, and cooks in less than half the time it takes to make brown rice. A half-cup of cooked quinoa provides 1.5% of the calcium, 15% of the magnesium, and 4.5% of the potassium you need every day. Quinoa is gluten free, making it a great option if you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. The most widely available quinoa is a golden beige color, but red and black varieties are also available and worth a try for your high blood pressure diet.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Quinoa


17. Red Capsicum – One cup of raw red capsicum provides 1% of the calcium, 4% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Red Capsicum


18. Skim Milk – Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk. If you’re not a fan of milk altogether, then eat more low-fat or nonfat yoghurt. Just make sure to avoid yoghurt that is high in sugar.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Skim Milk


19. Tilapia – This mild white fish is available year-round in supermarkets and fish stores, fresh or as frozen fillets. You can roast it, bake it, and sauté it, flavor it with a variety of seasonings, and even top it with mineral-rich kiwi-avocado salsa (see points 1 and 9). Just 133 grams (4 oz) of tilapia provides 8% of the magnesium and 8% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): Tilapia


20. White Beans – And last but not least, you can use this comfort food in side dishes, soups, and entrées. As a meatless source of protein, it’s a great choice for vegetarians. One cup of white beans provides 13% of the calcium, 30% of the magnesium, and 24% of the potassium you need every day.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): White Beans

Of course there are other factors that help control, lower, or prevent high blood pressure such as exercising regularly and keeping an eye on your waistline, but I won’t be going into too much detail on those aspects. Just always remember that eating foods that are rich in minerals is better than taking supplements.

So yes, earlier above I made mention that this list will serve as the ultimate guideline to the monthly themes on Amcarmen’s Kitchen – each month I will pick a certain food to cook with from the list above and dish up meals highlighting the chosen ingredient. For example, I have chosen to focus on Bananas for the month of February. Stay tuned as Amcarmen’s Kitchen will be back with some exciting recipes starting this Wednesday!

Cheers!

*Note: All imagery used in this blog post do not belong to me, they have been sourced from Google Images and Freepik. Likewise, information gathered for this post has been sourced from Dr. David Williams, Eating Well, Health Line & Prevention.

– Ally xx

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Hello Everyone and Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there, and most especially to my mother. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know. Happy Mother’s Day to you Mumu; love you forever and always, even if we sometimes don’t see eye to eye.

Happy Mother's Day
There is nothing more sincere than a mother’s love for her children, and this picture clearly portrays your love for me while I care more about putting my hairband on for the picture (but really I’ve got my eye on the food).

Last week after my Mom’s birthday celebration (and that whole fiasco that I had with baking her cake), I asked her what she wanted me to bake for her for Mother’s Day, and I’m not gonna lie, but said aloud to her, “please not another cake” – the troubles of my mother being born a week before Mother’s Day. We both started thinking for a while, and then I remembered that I wanted to make this cake back when I was still in Sydney. Now I know I said no cakes, but this technically isn’t a massive layered cake, but instead, mini molten lava cakes.

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

Somewhere back in July last year, I hosted a tea and scones party for some of my favourite ladies, and one male housemate. We had an assortment of tea of course, homemade scones, homemade strawberry jam, and homemade lemon curd. I had a lot of strawberry jam left over, but I had a way of finishing it by having it with toast in the mornings with a cup of tea. Lemon curd on the other hand I had no clue on how to consume it. I then searched for other recipes that used lemon curd, except for the obvious lemon meringue pie/tart since I am not a huge fan of meringue. I then came across this recipe and I instantly knew that this was the recipe that I was going attempt – but never got around to doing so. Reasons? I actually don’t remember. I think it was because the lemon curd had been sitting in the fridge for weeks and probably already off at the time I decided that I want to make these molten cakes. After that, I wasn’t bothered to make a whole new batch of lemon curd just for this dessert to happen. But now for Mother’s Day – I don’t see any better chance to have a go at these!

The original recipe can be found on The Gallery Gourmet and this recipe makes about 8 cakes but I guess differs on the size of your moulds/ramekins.

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 13-15 MINS | MAKES 4 CAKES

INGREDIENTS

  • 120g white baking chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Homemade Lemon Curd
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 large free range egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Accompaniments
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh raspberries

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7). Grease 8 ramekins with softened butter or non-stick baking spray.  Place them onto a baking tray and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and white chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 15 seconds (for a total of 60-90 seconds) until melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, sugar and salt; mix well. Then add in the eggs, egg yolks, lemon curd, lemon zest, and vanilla extract and whisk until well blended. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins.
  4. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until the edges are just starting to to turn golden brown, and the centre is puffy and just beginning to set. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Run the tip of a paring knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen them and then invert the cakes onto small dessert plates or dishes.
  6. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, garnish with fresh raspberries, and serve with whipped cream.
  7. Share with the family (or friends) and enjoy!

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream Process

Lemon Molten Cakes with Raspberry & Cream

PS: I completely forgot about the whipped cream when I was photographing the cakes, and by the time I had the cream ready and whipped, I found out that my Mom and my sister had already dug into the perfect molten cake that I specifically set aside for my photograph (the other cakes weren’t as runny as the one I had opened for the photo). The whipped cream nicely balances out the sweetness and tartness of the cakes.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I would like to dedicate this post to my little sister April who would’ve been 17 years old today. She unfortunately showed no signs of life when she was born.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Today, I am finally ending this short pizza series on a high with this pizza recipe from SORTED Food. I’ve been wanting to give this recipe a go for a very long time and I’m glad that I’ve managed to cross this off my list of things to make, and will continue to make over and over again. So, during the process of making this dessert pizza, there is one step where you have to place the pizza in the oven with the Nutella spread and hazelnuts to bake before adding the berries on top. When I took the pizza out to do this, I saw that the Nutella started caramelising. I stupidly, without thinking, put my finger in the Nutella spread because I wanted to know whether it has hardened… And I burnt my finger. My first reaction (of course) was to quickly put it in my mouth… And thus I also burnt my tongue. Well done Allison. Well done indeed. Other than this little stupidity of mine, the pizza was a success. The flavours were on point and that mascarpone cheese to top it off was pretty amazing.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Of course you may use other berries as well, those that are in season wherever you are in the world. Fresh or frozen, it doesn’t matter. I really wanted to try it with boysenberries since I absolutely LOVE them. I saw punnets of them on the shelves at Coles a few times during December-January time. But by the time I came around to making this pizza, the berries were off the shelf and they didn’t even have any frozen ones *sob*.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 8-10 MINS | SERVES 4-5

INGREDIENTS

  • Classic New York Style Pizza Dough Recipe
  • 1 punnet (125g) blackberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) raspberries
  • 1 punnet (125g) strawberries, sliced
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Roasted hazelnuts
  • Mascarpone Cheese
  • Nutella

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  2. Roll out your dough to a circle the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want.
  3. Brush around the edge with a little water, then create a wall of raspberries all the way around. Fold the edge over the raspberry wall and seal it in by pressing down on the damp dough to form a stuffed crust.
  4. Spread a thin (or if you are that type, a generous) layer of Nutella onto the dough and top with the roasted hazelnuts (place them in to oven for about 5-6 minutes if your hazelnuts are raw). Don’t forget to lick your spoon, or whatever utensil that you used to spread the Nutella with, clean!
  5. Carefully remove the stone from the oven and quickly slide the pizza over the top of the stone. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and top the pizza with the berries and bake in the oven for a further 3-4 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 10 minutes in total.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with mascarpone cheese and fresh mint leaves.

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com