Mediterranean Diet

“There’s overwhelming evidence confirming that the Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes; the evidence is very clear and compelling,” says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health who conducts research in the field of diet and cardiovascular health. Indeed, cardiovascular disease reduction has been one of the most consistent findings related to the Mediterranean diet.

Research on other health benefits is mounting. “There’s pretty good evidence that the Mediterranean diet lowers stroke risk and perhaps cognitive decline, and other vascular conditions. There’s growing evidence linking the Mediterranean diet to weight control,” Mozaffarian adds.

A major factor behind the benefits of this diet may be its influence on inflammation and oxidative stress, which is at the root of chronic disease. The diet also is relatively high in total fat, but more than one-half of the fat comes from monounsaturated fats; the saturated fat levels are low. In addition, the dietary pattern’s high intake of whole plant foods boosts fiber, mineral, vitamin, and phytochemical levels.

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The Mediterranean Diet — A Practical Guide to Shopping, Menu Ideas, and Recipes ….

Packed Lunch

Home-cooked Japanese Bento

The Menu

  • Grilled Ginger Pork with Bell Peppers and Enoki
  • Fried Egg Roll
  • French Bean with Mayo Dressing
  • Spaghetti with Spicy Cod Roe
  • Cucumber, Tomato, Broccoli and Lettuce

In-person Supermarket Education Affects Healthful Food Purchases

Shop the perimeter and avoid center isles, don’t buy anything at eye level, investigate the label. Grocery shopping can be a daunting task. Moreover, studies have shown that Americans obtain most of their food from grocery stores and their shopping habits are predictive of their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and sugared soft drinks. Many grocery stores are taking an active role in helping consumers make healthful food choices. You may have even seen your grocery store use a nutritional score placed right on the shelf’s price label for a food item. The question asked in a study published in the May/June 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior is ”who knows how to use these grocery store shelf signs?”

Investigators from Arizona State University and University of Arizona College of Medicine–Phoenix recruited 153 shoppers at a grocery chain. The control group received no healthful grocery store shopping information except for the usual information provided at this grocery chain, which included 600 shelf signs placed below food items. Shelf signs at the grocery chain identify food items that are considered a ‘‘healthier option,’’ ‘‘heart healthy,’’ ‘‘low sodium,’’ ‘‘calcium rich,’’ or an ‘‘immune booster,’’ according to the Food and Drug Administration labeling regulations and the American Heart Association guidelines.

The intervention group received an in-person counseling component provided by a nutrition educator and delivered in less than 10 minutes. In that time, the nutrition educator provided an overview of nutrition label reading and instructions on how to use the 5 nutrition shelf signs emphasizing foods included in the Heart Healthy (shopping for nonfat and low-fat dairy products, leaner beef and pork, vegetable oil, and other sources of healthy fats) and Immune Booster (increasing fruit and vegetable purchasing, especially dark-green, orange, red, and yellow colors) signs.

After the study participants had finished grocery shopping, the investigators assessed their shopping basket for total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, fruit, vegetables, and dark green and bright-yellow vegetables. The investigators found that in-person counseling resulted in greater purchasing of healthful food items such as fruit and green and yellow vegetables.

Dr. Brandy-Joe Milliron, the lead author of this article, states, “Previous point of purchase supermarket interventions, price discounts, advertisements, coupons, recipe fliers, store signage, and food demonstrations have had modest effects on food purchasing patterns. Therefore, we sought to test the effect of a point of purchase intervention with in-person counseling from a nutrition educator on food purchasing patterns. Food purchasing patterns are predictive of actual dietary intake, and even the modest effects from our study could translate into meaningful health benefits if sustained long term.”

Dr. Bradley M. Appelhans, the principal investigator of this study adds, “The ubiquity of inexpensive, palatable, energy-dense food is considered a primary contributor to the obesity epidemic, and a number of obesity-reducing modifications to the obesity-promoting environment have been proposed. Interventions aimed at promoting more healthful food purchasing patterns represent a promising approach to reducing obesity but have been relatively understudied.”

“The bottom line, encouraging the feasibility of supermarket interventions, such as that in our study, assists shoppers in choosing healthful options,” conclude the investigators.

Source: Elsevier

A Glutinous Rice Wrap Dim Sum

Ingredients

320 g glutinous rice
1 salted duck egg yolk (cut in two halves)
1 lotus leaf
2 tbsp oil

Filling

40 g char siu (Chinese barbecued pork)
40 g pork
1 chicken leg
2 Chinese dried mushroom (soaked and cut into strips)

Seasoning for Glutinous Rice

1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp boiling water

Seasoning for Filling

1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
dash pepper
1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Soak glutinous rice overnight. Cook by steaming until done.
  2. Dice char siu and pork. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, stir-fry pork and chicken until cooked. Add char siu, mushroom and seasoning. Toss and bring to a boil. Remove when sauce thickens. Cool.
  4. Blanch lotus leaf in boiling water. Rinse and cut in two halves.
  5. Mix glutinous rice with seasoning. Divide into 4 portions.
  6. Place lotus leaf on the work surface. Brush leaf with some oil. Place 1 portion of rice on the leaf. Add half of the filling and half yolk. Cover the filling with another portion of rice. Fold the leaf into a square parcel.
  7. Repeat the above step with the remaining leaf, rice, filling and yolk to make another parcel.
  8. Cook the parcels by steaming over high heat for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

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