Lactobacillus acidophilus belongs to the genus lactobacillus and is popularly referred to as the acid-loving milk bacterium. In fact, the characteristic feature of these organisms is that they aid in fermenting sugars into lactic acid. This specie of its bacilli is also known for its probiotic characteristics and is commercially employed in myriad dairy products. Some common strains of this organism includes Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM.
Papain is essentially a cysteine protease enzyme ( EC 188.8.131.52 ) found in papaya . They contain amino acids which are stabilized by three disulfide bridges . In their 3D structure, two distinct structural domains can be seen with a cleft between each. The active site is contained by the cleft which in turn consists of a catalytic triad that likened to chymotrypsin . This catalytic triad is formed of 3 amino acids – cysteine-25, histidine-159, and asparagine-158.
The beet root plant, known under the bionomial name, Beta vulgaris, belongs to the amaranthaceae family . It is most widely consumed as a vegetable. Beta vulgaris is a herbaceous plant with leafy stems growing to a height of 1–2 meters in height. The leaves are found to be heart-shaped and achieve a length of 5–20 and sometimes even more in the cultivated plants. The arrangements of flowers are in the form of spikes with each flower being very small of about 3–5 mm in diameter.
Amylase is an enzyme responsible for breaking down starch into sugar . It is highly present in the human saliva , where it helps digestion by breaking down food into simpler substances. Food items which contain greater amount of starch and less sugar, namely rice and potato , taste sweet when chewed because amylase action breaks down some amount of starch into sugar in the mouth itself. The Pancreas is also known to form alpha amylase in order to hydrolyse dietary starch into disaccharides and trisaccharides. These are then converted by other enzymes into glucose which then gives energy to the body. Some plants and bacteria also known to support the production of amylase. All amylases are glycoside hydrolases and are made up of α-1,4-glycosidic linkages.
Malpighia emarginata is a tropical shrub belonging to the Malpighiaceae family. It is commonly also referred to as Acerola , Wild Crapemyrtle Barbados Cherry and West Indian Cherry . It is a small evergreen tree with branches spread across a short trunk . It usually grows up to a height of 6.6–9.8 ft but sometimes reaches to 20 ft. The leaves are 2–8 cm long and ovate-lanceolate in shape with short petioles . Their arrangement is opposite , elliptic-lanceolate margins undulating with sides in the top dark green and glossy. The flowers are bisexual and range between 1–2 cm in diameter – pale to deep pink in color. Their petals are mainly fringed, contain ten stamens with six to ten glands on the calyx .
A self-pollinating, diploid species of the Graminae family, barley grass is scientifically known under the names Hordeum vulgare L. and Hordeum distichon L. It is commonly known as barley. Pearl barley, Scotch barley and Perlatum. Nutritionally, barley grass is at its peak just before it starts producing flowers and seeds. The optimal time to harvest barley crops is two weeks after seeding. The minerals and vitamins contained in the young grass at this stage are considered to be equivalent or superior to that of green vegetables.
Oats are Angiosperms belonging to the order-poales, family-poaceae and genus-avena and known under the binomial name, Avena Sativa. Oats are mainly grown in the temperate zones as they require low summer heat and greater tolerance of rain . Oats are perenial plant s, and are often planted in autumn for late summer harvest. They are also grown in the spring for early autumn harvest. A. byzantina is considered to be the wild ancestor of Avena sativa and is a hexaploid .
B. Bifidum are ‘friendly’ micro-flora in the human digestive system which perform many functions vital to human health. Health Benefits : The presence of B. bifidum in the human body is responsible for numerous health benefits, including protection against diarrhea, immunity boosting and reduction of lactose intolerance. They also enhance both vitamin as well as protein synthesis which aids in better absorption of nutrients and prevents colonization by harmful bacteria. These strains particularly promote the digestion of the intestinal lactose which helps combat constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and increases mucosal integrity. They are also known to fight urogenital infection such as radiation induced colitis, yeast infections and vaginitis in females.
Broccoli is mainly recognized by its small dark green curds on stem like stalks, giving a tree-like look. It is known under the scientific name Brassica aleracea and is a native of Italy. Belonging to the Brassica family of the Cruciferous vegetables, this mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves and very closely resembles the cauliflower. Broccoli is known to have a history of more than 2000 years.
Bromelain refers to enzymes extracted from the plants of family Bromeliaceae . Bromelain extract in particular refers to the combination of these enzymes along with other compounds present in the plants of this family. They can best be understood as protein-digesting enzymes, commonly called the proteolytic enzymes or the proteases. The proteolytic enzymes are sulfhydryl proteases because a free sulfhydryl group of a cysteine side-chain is required for its better functioning. The two main types of enzymes that make bromelain extract are stem bromelain and fruit bromelain. Other chemical structures that form a part of the extract include peroxidase , acid phosphatase , protease inhibitors and calcium . Bromelain is largely present in all parts of the pineapple plant, scientifically known as Ananas comosus . Its stem is what forms the source of most commercial viability.
With Gemmifera as its cultivar group, Brussels sprout of Brassicaceae family bears a close resemblance to wild cabbage. They are nominally 1.6 cms in diameter and are the miniature representatives of the regular cabbages used for consumption. The first production of Brussels sprouts took place in ancient Rome, which began in the 13 th century, after which it spread to other parts of Europe and then the United States. Cabbage and Brussels sprouts belongs to the same cruciferous family as collard greens, broccoli, kale and kohlrabi.
A grape is a non- climacteric berry , belonging to the genus Vitis. It is mainly found growing on the perennial and deciduous woody vines in groups of 6 to 300. This fruit is found in varied colors such as dark blue, yellow, crimson, black, green, pink and white. ‘White’ grapes are mainly green in color but are too light to differentiate at times. They are a product of the evolution of the purple grape. Mutations carried in two regulatory genes of white grapes drastically reduce the production of anthocyanins in these berries which are primarily responsible for the purple color of these grapes.
Quercetin is a plant-derived flavonoid, popularly used as a nutritional supplement . Clinical studies reveal that it holds many anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties and thus is known to have a vast range of health benefits. When experimented with mice, it was found that quercetin increased energy expenditure in them, but for short intervals only. Thus it came to be deduced that exercise tolerance in mice for affected by quercetin as it lead to increased mitochondrial biogenesis.
Cranberries belong to the order Ericales, family Ericaceaea, genus Vaccinium and sub-genus Oxycoccos. They can be identified as a group of dwarf evergreen shrubs, spread across colder regions of Northern Hemisphere.. Cranberries are mainly epigynous berries larger than the leaves of the plant which are white when young but become deep red when fully ripe. Their acidic taste takes over their sweetness but they form highly edible species of the plantae kingdom which are greatly liked the world over. Some such species include Vaccinium oxycoccos, V.microcarpum and V. macrocarpon.
Cinnamon, scientifically referred to as Cinnamomum verum or C. zeylanicum are fruits of the plant classified under the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida and order Laurales. Belonging to the family Lauraceae , it is a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka . Cinnamon powder is a distinctive spice with a unique aroma obtained from the bark of the tree.
Kelp are giant seaweeds , particularly a type of brown algae , belonging to the class Phaeophyceae, classified under the order Laminariales . About 300 genera of Atlantic Kelp are found in nature, some of which are very long and form kelp forests . Plantations of Kelp grow underwater and are addressed as forests . They mainly grow in the in shallow oceans and seas. The fact that they are so highly nutritious comes from the fact that they need nutrient-rich water below about 20 °C to sustain themselves. Atlantic Kelp is known for its prolific growth; For e.g. The species belonging to the genus Macrocystis and Nereocystis grow up to half a meter a day, finally reaching 30 to 80 m in height.
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant classified under the order Asparagales and the family Asphodelaceae. It is found natively growing in Northern Africa , the Canary islands and Cape Verde , places having arid climates in particular. Aloe vera is an extremely short-stemmed succulent plant growing up to 60–100 cm in height. It has leaves that are thick and fleshy and are mainly green to grey-green, in color. While the margins of the aloe leaf are serrated containing small white teeth, some of its varieties show white flecks on both the upper as well as the lower stem bases. The flowers are arranged in the form of spikes which are up to 90 cm tall – mainly blossoming in the summer season. They are pendulous showing a yellow tubular corolla at the top of about 2–3 cm. A significant quality of the aloe plant species is that they form arbuscular mycorrhiza , which is a symbiosis improving the plant’s ability to absorb minerals from the soil.
Scientifically referred to as Rubus leucodermis, Raspberry has been classified under the division – Magnoliophyta, class- Magnoliopsida, order- Rosales and family – Rosaseae. It belongs to the sub genus Idaeobatus and has been recognized under three major varieties namely Rubus leucodermis var. leucodermis , Rubus leucodermis var. bernardinus Jepson and Rubus leucodermis var. trinitatis Berger.
Belonging to the family, Asteraceae and the genus, Silybum Adan, milk thistles are mainly known for their thistles. The Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa and Middle East are the native lands they were found naturally growing in. They got the name, ‘milk thistle’ from the two prime features of its leaves – firstly they are mottled containing splashes of white and secondly they contain milky saps.
Belonging to the family Apiaceae and genus Daucus, Carrot is scientifically known as Daucus carota. Carrot is a horn-shaped root popularly eaten as a vegetable and is either purple, white, red, orange or yellow in color. Europe and Asia are the native homes of this vegetable. A biennial plant, carrot’s most edible part is its less woody and greatly enlarged tap root. These come in many sizes are can be grouped into two main classes – the western carrots and the eastern carrots. A carrot plant shows a flowered stem with an umbel of white flowers and the fruit they produce is called the schizocarp. Caroot gets its patent red or the yellow color because of the presence of beta-carotene in its pigments. The purple pigment is mainly due to the anthocyanin pigments present in the carrot.
Apple tends to be one of the most cultivated tree fruits today and happens to have more than 7,500 cultivars with diverse characteristics. Its scientific classification consists of division – Magnoliophyta, class – Magnoliopsida, order- Rosales, family – Rosaceae, tribe – Maleae and genus – Malus. It is known under the bionomial name, Malus domestica. This fruit finds its largest production is United States followed by Iran , Turkey and Russia . Apple trees grow upto 12 meters and are deciducous in nature. Their leaves are alternately arranged in a simple form and are 5to 12 cm long. They mature in autumn with the fruit consisting of five carpels arranged in a five-pointed star. Every carpel consists of one to three seeds. The wild ancestors of these species are Malus Sieversii. Apples are ideally self-incompatible fruits and thus need to cross-pollinate for the fruit to develop. The growers of this fruit mainly develop pollination groups according to the climate of the place they are cultivated in.
Protease is also known under alternative names, peptidase and proteinase . They are primarily enzyme s involved in the process of proteolysis causing the catabolism of protein through the hydrolysis of the peptide bonds , linking amino acids forming a polypeptide chain of proteins. They function best under acidic conditions except alkaline proteases which are less compatible in acidic environs. Proteases are broadly classified under six major heads as follows:
Resveratrol is a phytoalexin naturally produced when plants undergo attack by bacteria or fungi . It is largely found in the skin of red grapes and is also derived from Japanese knotweed and employed as a nutritional supplement. Resveratrol has extensively been under the microscope by experts to learn its’ effects on the lifespan of many organisms such as fruit flies , nematode worms and short-lived fish.
Brown Rice, popularly known as hulled rice is a natural grain which is partly milled, or not milled at all, makes for more nutritious rice than white rice. It become rancid easily, and is more edible with a mild nutty flavor. Brown rice is formed when only the outermost layer or husk is removed from the rice stock. As more and more layers of rice are removed, it loses its nutritional value, particularly the vitamins contained in them. Among elements that are lost are fatty acids and fiber. Hence, brown rice forms one of world’s healthiest foods when left in its’ natural form.
A blue-green algae, Spirulina belongs to the domain – bacteria, plylum – cynobacteria, order – chroococcales and family – spirulinaceae.(1) It is a spirally coiled, free floating cyanobacteria living in sea as well as fresh water and is commonly known under species namely Arthrospira platensis, Arthrospira maxima. They are primarily characterized by cylindrical, multicellsular trichomes in an open left-hand helix inhabiting water bodies having rich concentrations of Ph, carbonate and bicarbonate.
Chlorella (Japanese cracked cell wall) :Chlorella is a single celled green algae. Chlorella gets its name from the Greek word ‘chloros’ meaning green due to the presence of photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll a and b in its chloroplast. Given the right amount of carbon-dioxide, water and sunlight, chlorophyll helps it to proliferate at an extremely fast rate. Nobel laureate, Otto Heinrich Warburg, the German biochemist and cell physiologist extensively studied cell respiration and photosynthesis in Chlorella and thus validated that its high photosynthetic efficiency makes it very rich in potential nutrients like protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and fiber. (1)
Cauliflower belongs to the species Brassica oleracea under the family Brassicaceae. With its prime origin in the Northeast Mediterranean region, cauliflower belongs to the Botrytis cultivar group. Cauliflower is divided into four major groups based on their regions of cultivation. Theses are popularly addressed as Italian biennial and annual types, Northwest European biennials, Northwest European annuals and Asian Cornish. Cauliflower is commercially cultivated in green, orange and purple colors. The orange one contains higher amounts of amount of Vitamin A, whereas purple cauliflower contains higher quantities of anthocyanin, the pigment due to which it gets its typical color.
Belonging to the order Ericales, family Ericaceae, these angiosperms are scientifically known as Vaccinium Cyanococcus. Blueberries are native to North America with their smaller versions known as ‘lowbush blueberries’ and larger ones as ‘highbush blueberries’. The fruition of the blue berry plant takes place in the middle of the growing season which is often affected by altitude and the latitude. The flower is precisely a false berry which is crowned at its opening end.
An edible flowering plant of the division – Mannoliophyta, class- Magnoliopsida, order- caryoplyllales and family Amaranthaceae, the binomial name of spinach is Spinacia oleracea. Nutritional Analysis : The nutrient density of spinach is considered to be the highest among all green leafy vegetables. It reflects high quantities of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, folic acid, copper, protein, flavonoids, phosphorous, zinc, niacin, selenium, Vitamin C, K, E and B6, iron, calcium, potassium, opioid peptides, rubiscolins and omega 3 fatty acids.
Polygonum cuspidatum, also referred to as Japanese Knotweed and Reynoutria japonica is a large, herbaceous plant , perennial in nature. Japan , China and Korea are its native countries. It belongs to the family Polygonaceae , and consists of hollow stems with distinctly raised nodes which makes it look like a bamboo. The plants of these species are much smaller, though the stems might sometime reach a height of 3–4 m each in the growing season.
Green tea leaves, scientifically known as Camellia sinensis are the prime ingredients of antioxidants called the green tea catechins (GTC). Green tea and its herbal derivates like green tea extracts are most commonly employed by people because of the myriad health benefits they offer. They contain four major epicatechin derivatives known as epigallocatechin (EGCG), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC) and epicatechin (EC).
Barley is one of the first cereal crops ever domesticated by humankind. Barley is considered to be one of the most nutritious cereals and is therefore consumed as a popular health food. Its nutritional content primarily consists of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fat and protein, as well as vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamin B6 and C. Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc are the minerals which are also included in barley.