Gold Kit Kat Chocolate Bar

Kit Kat Bar Wrapped with Gold Leaf

Each hand-made bar comes with a hand-made wooden box and is selling for 2,016 Yen (about US$ 16.70). A limited quantity of 500 will be sold in all the stores in Japan.

Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Catherine Winters wrote . . . . .

If you’ve been told you have osteopenia, or lower than normal bone density, here’s what you need to know.

Osteoporosis, or bone thinning—a condition that can lead to serious spine or hip fractures—affects more than 10 million people in the U.S., most of them women, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

But what about those who don’t quite hit the diagnostic mark for full-blown osteoporosis? That’s the case for some 43 million Americans, who have been told they have osteopenia—bone density that’s lower than normal.

To diagnose osteoporosis you need to undergo a bone density test. You have the condition if that test shows your “T-score”—which is determined by comparing your bone density with that of a healthy young adult of your gender—is less than -2.5, according to the National Institutes of Health. You have osteopenia if your T-score is between -1.0 and -2.5.

You’re more likely to have osteopenia if you’re a postmenopausal woman, you’ve broken a bone, you have rheumatoid arthritis, you smoke or consume a lot of alcohol, or used corticosteroid drugs like prednisone for at least three months.

Will You Develop Osteoporosis?

Having osteopenia does put you at an increased risk for osteoporosis. But most of the time, osteopenia doesn’t progress to osteoporosis.

Less than 10 percent of postmenopausal women with mild osteopenia develop the condition within 15 years, less than 10 percent of women with moderate osteopenia develop it within five years, and less than 10 percent of women with advanced osteopenia progress to osteoporosis within one year, according to a 2012 study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Most of the time, no treatment for osteopenia is needed other than diet and lifestyle changes. The evidence that osteoporosis drugs like alendronate (Fosamax and generic) help during this stage is inconsistent. Instead, consider a repeat bone scan after several years. (In some cases, such as when older adults have already had fall-related fractures, those with osteopenia may benefit from medication.) An online fracture risk-assessment tool called FRAX may help your physician assess whether or not you need medication. (But note that risk calculators have potential shortcomings.)

Bone-Saving Strategies

Our medical experts recommend a baseline bone-density scan (known as a DEXA scan) at age 65 for women (and earlier if you have risk factors such as those above). Men who are age 70 and older may want to talk with a doctor about the risks and benefits before deciding whether to be screened. (Read more about when you need to get your bone density measured, and when you don’t.)

“In general, I think it’s a good idea for women with any risk factors to have a bone-density test as they go through menopause,” says Felicia Cosman, M.D., senior clinical director at the National Osteoporosis Foundation and a professor of medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

If your scan reveals osteopenia, lifestyle measures may help slow bone loss. They include 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, on most days of the week, and for most women who have gone through menopause, making sure to get 800 daily IU of vitamin D and consuming a diet that’s rich in calcium.

Source: Consumer Reports

Pomegranate Extract May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

In a quest to stay healthy, many people are seeking natural ways to prevent neurodegenerative diseases. Recent studies show that pomegranate extract, which is a rich source of disease-fighting polyphenols, can help protect against the development of Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers weren’t sure which molecules to thank. A team reports in ACS Chemical Neuroscience that the responsible compounds may be urolithins, which are made when gut bacteria break down the polyphenols in the extract.

Alzheimer’s disease is associated with ß-amyloid (Aß) fibrillation, a process in which amyloid proteins in the brain form clumps. To fight the formation of these fibrils, however, a molecule would have to cross the blood-brain barrier — a series of cell junctions that prevent certain substances from entering the brain. In previous work, the researchers showed that a pomegranate extract has anti-Alzheimer’s effects in animals, but they did not identify the compounds responsible. Navindra Seeram and colleagues wanted to investigate which compounds in pomegranate could both pass through the blood-brain barrier and prevent Aß fibrils from forming.

The team isolated and identified 21 compounds — mostly polyphenols — from the pomegranate extract. Computational studies found that polyphenols could not cross the blood-brain barrier, but that urolithins could. Urolithins are anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective compounds that are formed when ellagitannins, a type of polyphenol, are metabolized by gut bacteria. The researchers then showed that urolithins reduced Aß fibrillation levels in vitro. Additionally, these compounds increased the lifespan of an Alzheimer’s roundworm model. They say further tests are needed to determine whether the protective effects of these compounds could ultimately help prevent or treat Alzheimer’s in humans.

Source: American Chemical Society

Spicy Egg Fajitas

Ingredients

2 small onions, cut into wedges
2 pepper (red, green or yellow), cut into strips
1/4 cup water
12 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 to 3 drops hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
6 large flour tortillas
1-1/2 cups pinto beans
1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup salsa

Method

  1. Place onions, pepper and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan. Cover and steam over medium heat until tender crisp. Keep warm.
  2. Whisk together eggs, 1/2 cup water, chili powder, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Scramble egg mixture in a large skillet, stirring until set. Move eggs to one side of skillet and sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Place onions and peppers in other side of pan.
  3. To serve: Spoon eggs onto warmed tortillas. Top with onions and peppers, pinto beans, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa. Roll up and enjoy.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Canadian magazine

In Pictures: Breakfasts for Two Arranged in Symmetry


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