Al Rifai Nut Oils

Everyone has heard about the health benefits associated with eating nuts and seeds, but not everyone is aware of the benefits of using nut oils. Making nut oil requires crushing the kernel, and the oil will separate by itself from the cake. We use a cold screw press process without any solvent. At a time when heart-friendly olive and canola oils are the fats, we use the most often — for salads, searing, frying, marinades, or just adding flavor — nut and seed oils have become relegated as exotic or even ignored ingredients. And that is unfortunate because some are highly versatile and add wonderful flavor — often even more than flavored kinds of vinegar, or cold sauces like mayonnaise, or compound butter. We, at ALRIFAI, decided to bring a selection of oils back to the front stage.

 

Almond Oil

This pale oil is made from almonds and is primarily used in baking and making candies and other pastries. It’s often used to coat the cake and baking pans or when sautéing slivered almonds that we use in desserts or savory dishes.

Hazelnut Oil

With a rich and complex nutty flavor, this oil is costly to produce. You will find it usually sold in small bottles. It is best used in salads, for marinades, or used raw as a flavoring in sauces or when baking or making candies with hazelnuts. Never heat it, as it will lose its notes.

Pistachio Oil

Pistachio oil mixed with lemon juice goes best with bitter greens. French cooking makes use of it as a special salad dressing. Moreover, chicken recipes can be topped off with a few drops of pistachio oil. Bakery products – It is used in the mixture for cookies to add wholesome nutty goodness to them.

Macadamia Oil

Boasting a wonderfully smooth buttery flavor, macadamia oil is excellent for roasting, baking, and deep-frying, and can also be used as a base for salad dressings and even a substitute for butter when baking. One of the essential characteristics of macadamia oil is its high smoke point – between 210C and 234C degrees. Another critical feature of macadamia oil is its extremely high monounsaturated fat content, around 80% to 85%.

Cashew Oil

Cashew nut has a shell with an oily outer layer, and a hard inner layer, within which the familiar cashew nut is located. coldpressing this nut extracts the essence. It is a lovely light oil, ranging from pale yellow to dark yellow, and occasionally has a slight nutty odor, moderated by a sweet note.

Pecan Oil

Pecan Oil has a neutral flavor that enhances the character of the food. It picks up the taste of the seasonings of all types of foods. It can be used as a butter substitute for healthy cooking and with a small amount of butter added; the flavor of the original recipe will remain. Pecan Oil is an excellent oil base for your favorite salad dressing recipe.

Peanut oil

An almost tasteless oil with a medium-high smoking point used in cooking and especially deep frying, peanut oil is moderately high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. However, because of the risk of nut allergies (although peanuts are legumes and not nuts), peanut oil has become far less prevalent in both commercial and home cooking.

Walnut oil

One of the most exquisitely flavored oils, walnut oil, has a deep golden color and the aroma of the nuts. It also contains healthy omega-3 fats. Once a bottle is open, it has a short shelf life. Buy it in small quantities and store it in a cool, dark place, do not refrigerate it as the cold will cause its flavor to deteriorate. Use it in salad dressings, baking, and flavoring any cooked foods that match well with the taste of walnuts.

Aflatoxin in Nuts: What you need to know!

Snacking on nuts, can be part of a healthy diet, provided we don’t consume too many calories over the day. In this article, we will look into one potential harmful toxin called Aflatoxin. It is present in some nuts  so that you know what you are eating and most importantly have a healthy snacking habit.

Let us start with the basics.

What is aflatoxin?

It is a type of mold considered as a human carcinogen. It’s found in certain commonly eaten foods including peanuts, pistachios, brazil nuts, peanut butter and corn. It is harmful because people consume large amount of these foods in the Middle East and Africa.

How many types of aflatoxin are there?

There are four main types of aflatoxins: B1, B2, G1, and G2. Aflatoxin B1 is the major toxin produced, and is regulated in Lebanon by Libnor which in turn bases their limits according to EU regulation.

How do nuts get contaminated?

Fungal contamination and subsequent production of aflatoxin can occur in crops in the field, at harvest, during post harvest operations and in storage. it is important to store the raw products in the right conditions.

How does it affect the human body?

The biggest threat is the symptoms seen in patients with liver diseases. You can see vomiting, abdominal pain, water retention, pulmonary edema, convulsions, coma, and even death.

Research shows that aflatoxin targets the digestive organs most, especially the liver by raising the risk for liver cancer, hepatitis and liver disease. Moreover, long-term exposure to aflatoxin is a major risk factor for cancer of liver called hepatocellular carcinoma, which causes liver scarring, loss of nutrients, inflammation of the digestive tract and other serious problems that can lead to death.

How to control this toxin?

While there is some governmental inspection of crops for aflatoxin. However, industry and companies are largely responsible to self-monitor their food. They need to ensure that they are not contaminated with this substance. Today, it is impossible to remove aflatoxin completely from our food chain. Food authorities such as the FDA in the United States, have imposed limits on what is considered acceptable. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, consumption of even tiny amounts of aflatoxin can have a cumulative effect, and can lead to liver damage, gastrointestinal dysfunction.

How to protect yourself?

  1. Buy freshly roasted nuts in small quantities
  2. avoid storage for long term and in dry conditions
  3. Buy from trusted brands that comply to food regulations
  4. Ask companies about their aflatoxin control procedures

Chickpeas – A real powerhouse

As a legume, chickpeas are considered both a vegetable and protein food. They help you hit two important groups at once. These nutty beans are rich in a number of important nutrients that keep you well. (including protein, vitamins and minerals). They provide fiber too. Including chickpeas in your diet may play a role in reducing your risk of a number of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. At Al Rifai, we have several types of chickpeas. Before talking about them, lets go through their nutritional profile.

Chickpea Nutrition

ALRIFAI chickpeas nutritionChickpeas aren’t super low in calories like most veggies, but they’re rich in a number of good-for-you nutrients. A 1-cup serving of chickpeas has 270 calories, 45 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. That same 1-cup serving also meets 70 percent of the daily value for folate. it has  26 percent of the DV for iron. It’s also a good source of a number of other minerals including manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper, as well some other B-vitamins, including thiamine and vitamin B-6.

Fiber is one of the reasons you may want to add chickpeas to your menu. Most Americans fall way short of meeting their recommended daily fiber needs, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Depending on your age and gender, fiber needs range from 21 to 38 grams a day. A 1-cup serving of chickpeas provides about a third of your daily fiber needs.

While you might know that adding more fiber to your diet is good for keeping you regular. There are a number of other health benefits. Fiber in foods like chickpeas keeps you feeling full longer, helping you eat less, which may benefit your waistline. Chickpeas contain soluble fiber. They help lower low-density lipo-protein, or bad cholesterol. Soluble fiber also helps keep blood sugars steady. This benefits people with diabetes. There’s an association between a higher intake of fiber and lower risk of certain types of digestive cancers, including stomach and colorectal.

They’re a Vegetarian Source of Iron

Children, teens and women, and vegetarians have a tough time getting enough dietary iron. Iron helps make red blood cells and certain hormones. It’s important for cell function and normal growth. Due to the menstrual cycle, women have higher iron needs than men, 18 milligrams vs. 8 milligrams a day.

However, the iron in chickpeas is non heme iron, which isn’t absorbed as easily as heme iron. (the type of iron found in meat). But you can improve the amount of iron your body absorbs from the beans if you combine them with a food rich in vitamin C. For example, add chickpeas to your tomato soup, or use red peppers to eat your hummus.

Chickpeas Are High in Protein

Theyare an excellent source of protein. 1-cup serving contains more protein than that of two large eggs. However, the protein in chickpea isn’t “complete”. It doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids. But you can easily get the amino acids you need by eating other sources of protein, such as eggs, dairy, meat, grains and veggies, throughout the day. Although you don’t have to eat your chickpeas at the same meal as these other foods to get the benefits, you can mix chickpeas into quinoa or add a few to a dinner salad. If you’re a vegetarian eating chickpeas as a source of protein, eat a varied diet that includes whole grains and veggies — such as a 100-percent whole-wheat pita or carrot and celery sticks with your hummus — to get all the essential amino acids.

Al Rifai Assortment

We have a variety of chickpeas based on recipes dating to 1948. All our products are dry roasted without any fats or oils added. We use natural sea salt in the process to enhance the texture and bring more aromas to the products.

  1. Chickpea yellow: They are yellow chickpeas roasted to enhance the crunch with very little salt. You can have that as a snack or added it to your salads or dishes.
  2. Chickpea Instabouli: They are chickpeas roasted with the skin on. Hard to the bites but provide an excellent source of fibers. They are low in salt and a great snack with friends.
  3. Chickpea Sugared: A children’s favorite. Dry Roasted and coated with a layer of sugar and colored with beetroot extract.
  4. Chickpea Salted:  Dry roasted and dusted with salt layer.

 

Macadamias – Find out why they are good

When you think of macadamia nuts, Hawaii might come to mind. This nut is actually native to the continent Down Under. This explains why the fruit is also known as the Australian  Nut.

These are some of the most sought-after nuts in the world, so they can be expensive. This has driven up commercial production in other balmy areas like South Africa and Central America. The trees thrive if there’s sufficient water. Introduced in Hawaii in 1881 and soon afterward in California, Hawaii is now the world’s largest exporter. A 10-year-old macadamia tree might produce up to 22 kg and increase indefinitely.

The husks are composted for fertilizer.  In Japan, the oil is used in the cosmetic industry to make soaps, shampoos, and sunscreens. The remainder can be used in animal feed. Macadamias are a tough nut to crack, as the saying goes. Containing at least 72 percent oil, they’re encased in a leathery, green husk that splits open as the nut matures.

Al Rifai macadamias roasted in shellHealth benefits

As a natural, whole food, macadamia nuts contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals with significant health-boosting potential. They contain high amounts of vitamin B1 and magnesium. Just one serving nets 58 percent of what you need in manganese and 23 percent of the recommended daily value of thiamin.

Raw nuts contain a number of nutrients along with a healthy amount of monounsaturated fat. Macadamias are relatively low in carbs and protein (containing two percent per one-ounce serving). They are high in oleic acid and omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil. In fact, of the 21 grams of fat found in macadamia nuts only three grams are saturated fat.

Studies done on Macadamias

Clinical trials and studies demonstrated that the fatty acid profile of macadamia nuts beneficially affect serum lipids/lipoproteins. This results in a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, a Journal of the American College of Nutrition study found that people who ate nuts benefited in other ways, including:

  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Less likelihood of having two of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome: high blood pressure and low HDL (good) cholesterol (for nut consumers)
  • Less likelihood of having four risk factors for metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose, and a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome

Another reason why nuts are beneficial is that many of them, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts, contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with coronary heart disease. Nut consumption is also associated with a reduced incidence of diabetes in women, gallstones in both men and women. It has also benefits onoxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity.

It’s also important to note that macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs and can cause weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, tremors, and hyperthermia.

Al Rifai offers a selection of dry roasted macadamias and raw as well.