Blueprint of the Luxurious Underwater Hotel to be Built in Dubai

Chinese Lunch

Congee and Noodle Lunch

The Menu

Lobster Congee

Stir-fried Noodle with Braised Abalone

Researchers Find Potential ‘Dark Side” to Diets High in Beta-carotene

New research suggests that there could be health hazards associated with consuming excessive amounts of beta-carotene.

This antioxidant is a naturally occurring pigment that gives color to foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and certain greens. It also converts to vitamin A, and foods and supplements are the only sources for this essential nutrient.

But scientists at Ohio State University have found that certain molecules that derive from beta-carotene have an opposite effect in the body: They actually block some actions of vitamin A, which is critical to human vision, bone and skin health, metabolism and immune function.

Because these molecules derive from beta-carotene, researchers predict that a large amount of this antioxidant is accompanied by a larger amount of these anti-vitamin-A molecules, as well.

Vitamin A provides its health benefits by activating hundreds of genes. This means that if compounds contained in a typical source of the vitamin are actually lowering its activity instead of promoting its benefits, too much beta-carotene could paradoxically result in too little vitamin A.

The findings also might explain why, in a decades-old clinical trial, more people who were heavily supplemented with beta-carotene ended up with lung cancer than did research participants who took no beta-carotene at all. The trial was ended early because of that unexpected outcome.

The scientists aren’t recommending against eating foods high in beta-carotene, and they are continuing their studies to determine what environmental and biological conditions are most likely to lead to these molecules’ production.

“We determined that these compounds are in foods, they’re present under normal circumstances, and they’re pretty routinely found in blood in humans, and therefore they may represent a dark side of beta-carotene,” said Earl Harrison, Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Human Nutrition at Ohio State and lead author of the study. “These materials definitely have anti-vitamin-A properties, and they could basically disrupt or at least affect the whole body metabolism and action of vitamin A. But we have to study them further to know for sure.”

The study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Japanese Udon Soup with Shrimp Tempura


13 oz dried udon
16 shrimps, peeled and de-veined, tails left intact
12 young spinach leaves
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup iced water
1 cup tempura flour
1 tbsp sesame seeds
oil for deep-frying


1 tsp dashi granules
1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar
4 cups water


  1. Cook noodle in boiling water for 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add broth ingredients to a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Cut slits in the belly of each shrimp to stop them from curling during cooking.
  4. Rinse Spinach leaves. Drain and pat dry.
  5. Place egg, water, flour and sesame seeds in a bowl. Mix gently to form a lumpy batter.
  6. Heat oil in a wok. Dip shrimp in batter and deep-fry shrimp in batches until crispy and slightly golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Dip spinach in batter and deep-fly until done. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Divide noodle into serving bowls. Ladle broth into the bowls. Top noodle with shrimp and spinach tempura.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

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