Like most types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is made from a two-step fermentation process.
The apple cider undergoes the first stage of fermentation through the addition of bacterial cultures and yeast. These microorganisms will convert the sugar-rich juice into alcohol. In the second stage a different set of bacteria called acetobacter is introduced. These will then change the alcohol into acetic acid. It is this acid that gives vinegars its strong sour taste.
Apple cider vinegar has a long culinary and medicinal history. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, mentions it as a treatment for various types of infections. This as well as other health benefits have been studied in modern times.
Despite its therapeutic advantages, the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends that this vinegar only be used moderately as certain risks can come from excessive intake.
Continue reading and get a more detailed view of the pros and cons of apple cider vinegar… Continue reading
Fermented soy sauce is the authentic kind. The traditional way of manufacturing this sauce is brewing soybean and wheat in brine. The fungi typically used for the fermentation are Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae.
The non-fermented and modern method of making soy sauce is through acid hydrolysis of the soybeans. This is a much faster process as it may only take days while fermented soy sauce takes at least 6 months. But it necessitates additional stabilizing and flavoring ingredients.
The advantage of fermented soy sauce is that it contains a wider variety of nutrient substances. Hydrolysis is too thorough a process that the soybean protein is immediately decomposed into amino acids and very little of anything else beneficial remains.
However, due to the kind of food fermented soy sauce is made from and the other compounds it may contain, the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends it for moderate use only.
Continue reading to figure out the pros and cons of fermented soy sauce and its proper place in your quest to Become Superhuman… Continue reading
Black pepper is today’s spice highlight on the Superhuman Food Pyramid.
As small as a single peppercorn is, this spice was actually one of the main causes that set off the Age of Discovery and all the exploration and colonization that entailed. Black pepper used to be so scarce and expensive that Europeans had to find new routes into Asia where the spice originated. Now it is a common condiment just like regular table salt.
Besides adding a little pep (a word derived from “pepper”) to your dishes, black pepper has a lot to offer in terms of health. It also carries some risks which means it should only be used in moderation.
Read more about the pros and cons of black pepper and how it can be properly used in your quest to Become Superhuman… Continue reading
Red peppers can actually refer to a number of varieties that belong in the capsicum genus. There are the mild and relatively mild ones such as bell peppers, cayenne and jalapenos. Then there are the really hot and spicy types like tabasco, Thai peppers and habanero.
The one substance they all have in common but contain in varying degrees is capsaicin. This is the compound that gives red peppers their particularly hot taste. It’s the biochemical interaction of this pepper compound with neurons that produces the hot or burning sensation.
The Scoville scale is the standard measurement of how “hot” a red pepper (or any other spice) can get. Jalapenos for example have at least 2,500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) while habaneros go up to 350,000 SHU. The more capsaicin a particular pepper contains the hotter it tastes.
There are a number of benefits to including red peppers in your diet. But there are certain risks as well which is why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this spice.
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Regular table salt is the most commonplace condiment in the world. That’s not surprising as both sodium and chloride are necessary for life and salt is the most convenient source for these compounds.
As vital as it is, the human body needs only very little salt. The daily upper limit for adults is around 2,300 milligrams. For those aged 51 years and above, it should be just 1,500 mg. For children it’s even less with the limit set at 1,000 mg a day.
There are actually different kinds of edible salt. Regular table salt is the refined variety with more additives like iodine. This is usually sourced from mineral rock deposits. Unrefined or less refined types are kosher salt and sea salt which is made by evaporating seawater. While they may have varying degrees of additional mineral content, the basic composition of all these types is still sodium chloride and the recommended limits still apply.
The Superhuman Food Pyramid lists table salt under moderate use. Read more to learn about the benefits and risks of regular table salt. Continue reading
Just as Sucanat is a brand name for a type of minimally processed sugar, Truvia is the name of the recent natural sweetener product from The Coca-Cola Company and Cargill. It is labeled “natural” because the sugar-like substances that compose it are derived from and naturally occur in plants.
Truvia is mostly known as a stevia-based sweetener because one of its major ingredients is rebiana. Again, this is just a trade name for the actual glycoside compound found in the stevia plant called rebaudioside A. This particular compound contains three glucose molecules and that explains why it’s the sweetest of all stevia’s sugar-like substances (at least 350 times more than ordinary sugar).
Another component in Truvia that adds to its sweetness is erythritol. This substance is known as a sugar alcohol which means that it has the chemical properties of both sugar and alcohol. Erythritol has around 60% of the sweetness of regular sugar and it naturally occurs in certain types of fruits.
These ingredients give Truvia an advantage over ordinary table sugar and other alternative sweeteners. However it is still recommended for moderate use in the Superhuman Food Pyramid because taking too much can cause negative side effects.
Keep reading to find out the pros and cons of Truvia so you can make a more informed decision on how to use it in your quest to Become Superhuman. Continue reading
The sweet taste of sugar is an unavoidable part of our eating habits. Unfortunately excessive consumption of refined white sugar can lead to a number of health risks. Thus various relatively healthier alternatives have been invented and made to replace ordinary sugar.
Sucanat is one such natural sweetener and is today’s feature on the Superhuman Food Pyramid.
The name stands for sugar cane natural. It is actually a brand name owned by Ragus Holdings Inc for their particular type of whole cane or unrefined sugar product. This sugar substitute first came into the consumer market around late 1970’s.
Perhaps the terms “whole” and “unrefined” are not entirely accurate. The sugar cane still undergoes a minimal process although not as complex as the one that results in ordinary table sugar. After the juice is mechanically squeezed out of the sugar cane, it is heated and then cooled. What remains is a dark brown grainy stuff that has both the sugar and the molasses content.
Keep reading to find out how this distinct quality of Sucanat can help in your quest to Become Superhuman and why it should only be taken in moderation. Continue reading
Today’s sweetener spotlight in the Superhuman Food Pyramid is on blackstrap molasses.
The name “blackstrap” describes the food pretty well as it looks like dark-brown goo. Molasses are the viscous liquid byproducts of the sugar extraction process. Sugar cane is crushed to get the juice out and then boiled to crystallize the sugar. The third round of boiling sugar cane juice results in blackstrap molasses.
Most of the sugar has been taken out of blackstrap and this makes it the least sweet of all the other types of molasses derived from previous extractions. It still contains enough sugar compounds however to be a viable alternative sweetener.
Take a look at what other beneficial substances can be found in blackstrap molasses and find out why it should only be used moderately. Continue reading
Natural fruit sweeteners are another excellent way to replace ordinary table sugar. The main advantage is that fruits contain a lot of sugar compounds and some are particularly abundant.
Fruit sugar or fructose is quite naturally the one type of sugar consistently found in fruits. Other sugars such as glucose and sucrose are present too. Sometimes fructose is available in the fruit as a discrete component, in other cases it is bonded with glucose to form sucrose. Here are few examples of fruits and how much fructose they have:
- Apples = 5.9 g (per 100 grams)
- Bananas = 4.9
- Grapes = 8.1
- Peaches = 1.5
- Dried Figs = 22.9
- Pears = 6.2
To turn them into usable natural fruit sweeteners, these fruits need to be processed. They can be turned into juices, syrups, extracts, or even dehydrated. The point is to get rid of the excess water in order to come up with a form that has more concentrated sugar.
In the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this type of sweetener is recommended only for moderate consumption because fructose also presents certain risks when excessively used.
Find out the pros and cons of natural fruit sweeteners so you can decide on your own. Continue reading
Organic maple syrup is another alternative sweetener just like honey and it has been used as such for quite some time now. Tapping maple trees for its sweet sap has long been practiced by the indigenous peoples of North America. Then the Europeans came, encountered sweet liquid for the first time, and adopted the method.
Most maple syrup is more or less organic in the sense that one hardly needs to use petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to maintain the mature maple trees that are tapped. Of course those who truly practice organic agriculture will strictly adhere to the guidelines set by relevant certification agencies. This may include among other things refraining from adding artificial ingredients and using only safe materials during the whole process from extraction to bottling.
Organic maple syrup is mostly composed of sucrose (around 60%) which makes it almost like ordinary table sugar and necessitates judicious use. However it still does offer some amount of beneficial minerals which is why it belongs in the moderate section of the Superhuman Food Pyramid.
Find out what health benefits and risks come with organic maple syrup. Continue reading