Nowadays, the rise of supplements and treatment trends with the promise to help us stay healthy longer have become so mainstream and commonplace. They are so commercialized that it’s becoming more and more difficult to determine their reliability. With that said, more and more people have now opted for natural remedy since discovering how effective they are to our health long-term even with their on-going individual scientific research.
Those who are currently practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) would already know what kind of ancient remedies have the most powerful benefit to health. One of these remedies includes consuming edible bird’s nests.
In this article, we will discuss what edible bird’s nest is, how it is formed and produced, how it is consumed, and 7 reasons why it is super beneficial to health.
What is Bird’s Nest and how is it made?
Bird’s nests are actually formed when swiftlets or swallows build nests by using their saliva. Their saliva is edible and contains compounds that create a net or screen-like transparent material which is liquid at first but hardens when exposed to air. When the saliva dries, the birds lay their eggs and feed their hatchlings. Once the hatchlings and birds leave the nest, the clear, dry, and firm nest is then removed and harvested for consumption.
Bird’s nests are commonly found on trees, caves, and often buildings, and buildings. They also typically originate in Southeast Asian regions such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. However, since its discovery as an effective natural remedy, many businesses are establishing their own bird houses and facilities to culture bird’s nests locally and easily. The task of removing bird’s nest from their usual habitat was generally a laborious, if not, risky one. This is why bird’s nests are tagged as the most expensive organic elements in the market. A kilo of bird’s nest can be priced for more than $2000 and restaurants and merchants charge a couple of bird’s nests between $30 to $100.
Bird’s nest in history and modern culture
Despite the bird’s nests’ origins in Southeast Asian regions, it was the Chinese folks who unearthed this miracle cure for many ailments in the Dynasty era. Members of the elite in Ancient China were the only ones who had access to this rare commodity and used it for various health purposes especially in maintaining their youth. They believed that edible bird’s nests contain many essential nutrients than most herbs that do wonders for their health and skin.
The Chinese were the first few in history sworn to the powerful health benefits contained in edible bird’s nests even before scientific studies began. The tradition was passed on for many generations and until now people who still consume edible bird’s nest have proven its positive effects.
How is bird’s nest processed?
As mentioned earlier, bird’s nests are generally harvested from where the swiftlets build them. In this case, most are cultured at in-house bird houses which follow strict standard procedures. The rigid cleaning process and facility protocols ensure that the bird’s nest are cleaned and inspected thoroughly before letting them out for distribution.
Through the process it undergoes, the general cleaning steps the harvested bird’s nests follow in most facilities are:
- Scrubbing and washing
The first step is always washing the raw bird’s nest and scrubbing off any removable impurities.
- Picking and cleaning
This step is usually the most tedious as it needs steady hands and eyes to smaller impurities that usually are not removed during the washing phase.
More filtering is made to ensure that there are no more impurities left behind in the bird’s nest.
- UV sterilizing and ultrasonic cleaning
This step is when advanced technology is used to do another stage of thorough cleaning.
- Shape molding
Facilities usually have pre-designed molds to shape the bird’s nest before leaving them off to dry.
This step usually involves industrial-grade machines to help dry the bird’s nest faster.
- Inspection and grading
Once dried, the bird’s nests are sent to high-tech machines to do the final check-up and sorting.
When the bird’s nests are finally sorted, they are then being packed for export and distribution.
How do you identify premium quality bird’s nests from fake ones?
With the resurging popularity of edible bird’s nest, it’s no surprise that many people flock to the nearest available seller that supplies this potent but organic remedy. However, with so many merchants around, the tendency for fake products to get sold without being detected is also common.
That is why it is important to understand the product first before being fooled into buying bogus ones. So, how do you determine the real thing from fake ones? Below is a brief guideline to help you make sure you choose the best kind:
- The shape
Edible bird’s nests typically come in three forms which are cake, striped, or boat or cup shaped. It’s also important to note how intact the strands of the bird’s nest are. The more whole they look would signify authenticity.
Aside from the appearance of the strands, the color of the bird’s nest would also matter. Ideally, the best kind of edible bird’s nest color should be ivory-white. There are other varieties of color that can also determine real bird’s nests but their color also depends on their rarity. For instance, golden yellow color and red would imply that the bird’s saliva or nest itself is mixed with the habitat’s minerals giving it the said colors. As long as the edible bird’s nest is not unnaturally white, you will know that it has not undergone chemical bleaching.
The amount of saliva, debris, and feathers taken from a bird’s nest would also determine the quality of the product.
- Grade and type
Before buying bird’s nests, it is important to know that they also have different types and grades depending on how they were cleaned and prepared for distribution.
As it has already been mentioned, most bird’s nests are found in Southeast Asian regions. It is important to know that only countries like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam produce bird’s nests and export to other countries.
- Flavor and smell
Authentic bird’s nests usually have a hint of fishy smell while distinctly tasting like egg whites.
Types of edible bird’s nest
It is also important to understand that even if there are standards to identifying authentic bird’s nest products, some manufacturing facilities also create different types of bird’s nest for sale. The variety would depend on the customer’s preference in preparing them once they are bought. Some of these types include:
- Unprocessed bird’s nest
These are bird’s nests that are harvested and cleaned partially. This means that they are basically in their natural, unrefined form.
- Bird’s nest flakes
Some bird’s nests are being broken down into small bits and pieces forming flakes that are ready to be added into concoctions or dishes.
- Bird’s nest biscuits
From the word itself, these are bird’s nests that are molded into biscuits intentionally so that it is also ready to be added into dishes or making medicine.
Why should you consume edible bird’s nest?
It is already established earlier in this article as well as other resources that prove the many benefits bird’s nests can do for our body. Since the Chinese discovered its powerful effects, it has since become a popular natural remedy for our health and skin among others despite its expensive price tag.
Adding this remedy to your routine and eating habits will do a lot of good for your health and wellbeing. So, what exactly are the benefits of consuming edible bird’s nests on a daily basis? Below are 7 proven reasons:
- Effective natural cough and cold treatment
Popular beliefs have pegged bird’s nests to be the most powerful means of treating the common cold and cough next to chicken soup. It is because consuming bird’s nest has properties that prevent bacteria from causing inflammation in your lungs and eventually minimize wheezing and coughing.
- Appetite booster
Having a terrible appetite can easily make us prone to sickness due to lack of ingesting nutrients from food. Consuming bird’s nests daily contain enough minerals to help make our digestive tract become better.
- Promotes stronger immune health
It is found that bird’s nests are rich in natrium, potassium, calcium, and other minerals that help fight the bacteria in our body and keep our immune system healthy.
- Maintain clear and healthy skin
Most women dream of having a flawless and smooth complexion and one of the ways to achieve that is adding bird’s nests in their daily diet. It is because of its capability to regenerate cells which easily revitalize the skin to make it appear glowing, supple, and most importantly, healthy.
- Faster eyesight recovery
As we get older, our cornea’s health, the layer that helps protect our eyes’ outer surface, will eventually decline. When it becomes injured, it usually heals the slowest. Research has found the link of consuming bird’s nest to improved eyesight because of the hormones contained to help speed up corneal healing.
- Supports healthy pregnancy
Many who practice traditional medicine have also attested to the healthy development of babies in pregnant women who consume bird’s nests daily. It is because of the numerous essential nutrients both mother and baby needs during the pregnancy period.
- Has anti-aging properties
Many elderly people, especially in China, have maintained their youthful appearance from consuming bird’s nests daily. It is believed that bird’s nests contain nutrients that help regenerate our skin cells, and slowing down aging through natural pore tightening.
How is bird’s nest consumed?
The common way bird’s nest is consumed is preparing bird’s nest soup. Bird’s nest soup can be cooked in various ways, whether sweet or salty, or just plain. It all depends on your preference in preparing your own recipe. Most people just add the soup in their usual meal to enhance their dining experience. Many restaurants also include bird’s nest soup in their menu and are usually considered in their exotic food category.
There are also other folks who prefer the ready to consume type in the form of a bottled bird’s nest. Although it’s not the most recommended way to drink bird’s nest, as most bottled types only add a small amount of bird’s nests in, defeating its purpose in gaining health benefits.
Where to get high quality bird’s nest products?
Nowadays, many merchants are selling bird’s nest products online or physical stores. With this in mind, it is important to identify authentic bird’s nests and make sure that you don’t get scammed into buying the fake kinds.
One recommendation in getting top quality bird’s nest is in Cai Shen. It is an online store that exclusively sells premium bird’s nest products at reasonable prices. A guarantee you can get from buying at Cai Shen is that you know the bird’s nests you’re buying are of the highest grade and quality because they are produced at in-house facilities that are also following stringent protocols.
At this time and age, our health is certainly one of the most important features that we need to protect. To do that, we have to take extra measures in keeping ourselves healthy. There are so many ways to do that but whatever your style is, make sure that it does not harm you in any way. Whether it’s your first time to try bird’s nests or not, it is definitely a good start!
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