Bowl with Sweet Potato Coins, Millet Couscous and Golden Curry Pecan Sauce

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Coins

500 g sweet potatoes, peel intact, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1 tbsp coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Millet Couscous

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup uncooked millet
1 cup water
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
4 scallions, diced

Golden Curry Pecan Sauce

3/4 cup very hot, recently boiled water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsalted pecan halves
1 tbsp curry powder (mild or hot)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt

Method

Sweet Potato Coins

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F). On a large-rimmed baking sheet, coat sweet potatoes with oil and salt, and spread in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, flip and roast for an additional 20 minutes or until tender.

Millet Couscous

In a medium saucepan, warm oil over medium-high heat; add millet and toast, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Add water and salt; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes (do not stir during cooking time or it will turn creamy). Remove from heat and steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and gently incorporate chickpeas, cilantro, currants or raisins and scallions.

Golden Curry Pecan Sauce

Add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy.

Assembly

To bowls, add a generous bed of couscous; top with a fan of sweet potatoes and drizzle with sauce. Serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Whole Bowls

The Right Way to Get Your Whole Grains

Janet Lee wrote . . . . .

Adding more barley, bulgur, and quinoa to your diet has significant health benefits.

You know you should be eating more whole grains for the fiber and other nutrients they provide. For many people that means eating whole wheat bread and pasta in place of the regular versions. While switching from products made with refined white flour to those made with whole-grain flours is a good start, focusing on eating actual whole grains is better for your health.

“They’ve been tied to so many health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer,” says Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Brown rice, buckwheat, farro, millet, oats, wheat berries, and other grains are considered “whole” because they contain the entire kernel—the endosperm, bran, and germ—so they provide a variety of phytonutrients and fiber, which may reduce your risk for certain conditions. (Amaranth and quinoa count as whole grains, too, even though they’re actually seeds.)

All three components of the kernel are found in some processed whole-grain foods, too. But the data suggest that we should be eating most of our servings of whole grains in their whole form, Hu says. In some cases, whole-grain processed foods contain food additives, sodium, and sweeteners. Ingredients like those may cancel out the benefit you get from the whole grain.

And grains have a lower glycemic index (GI) in their whole form than they do in their processed form. That means they’re digested more slowly, so they don’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike, Hu says. Steel-cut oats, for example, have a lower GI than rolled oats, which have a lower GI than instant oatmeal. Bulgur, or cracked wheat, has a lower GI than whole-wheat bread.

How to Work Whole Grains Into Your Diet

Cooking whole grains takes a while, but they can be made in big batches and refrigerated so you can use them in meals all week. Cooked whole grains freeze very well, too—freeze single servings and they’ll be at the ready for meals—and they’re versatile. You can use them in a variety of ways. Toss them with beans and vegetables, add them to soups or salads, incorporate them into muffin and cookie batter, or serve them as a side dish. If you like oatmeal for breakfast, try a porridge made with amaranth, barley, or millet for a change of pace. Many grains are high in protein, so they can replace meat if you’re trying to cut back. Combine quinoa with mashed chickpeas for a tasty “faux” burger.

Source: Consumer Reports

In Pictures: Asian Salads

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Ginger and Lime Coleslaw

Vietnam-style Chicken Noodle Salad

Kale and Edamame Salad

Shrimp Salad

Cranberry and Almond Salad

Video: Quick Tips for Washing Fruits and Vegetables

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says, in most cases, you should wash your fruits and vegetables. In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Angie Murad, Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program dietitian, shows the best ways to prep your produce for snacks and meals.

Watch video at You Tube (1:09 minutes) . . . . .

Sleep Loss Detrimental to Blood Vessels

Getting too little sleep causes changes in the metabolism of cholesterol, demonstrates a study conducted at the University of Helsinki. According to the results, long-term sleep loss may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.

Lack of sleep has previously been found to impact the activation of the immune system, inflammation, carbohydrate metabolism and the hormones that regulate appetite. Now University of Helsinki researchers have found that sleep loss also influences cholesterol metabolism.

The study examined the impact of cumulative sleep deprivation on cholesterol metabolism in terms of both gene expression and blood lipoprotein levels. With state-of-the-art methods, a small blood sample can simultaneously yield information about the activation of all genes as well as the amounts of hundreds of different metabolites. This means it is possible to seek new regulating factors and metabolic pathways which participate in a particular function of the body.

“In this case, we examined what changes sleep loss caused to the functions of the body and which of these changes could be partially responsible for the elevated risk for illness,” explains Vilma Aho, researcher from the Sleep Team Helsinki research group.

The study established that the genes which participate in the regulation of cholesterol transport are less active in persons suffering from sleep loss than with those getting sufficient sleep. This was found both in the laboratory-induced sleep loss experiment and on the population level.

While analysing the different metabolites, the researchers found that in the population-level data, persons suffering from sleep loss had fewer high-density HDL lipoproteins, commonly known as the good cholesterol transport proteins, than persons who slept sufficiently.

Together with other risk factors, these results help explain the higher risk of cardiovascular disease observed in sleep-deprived people and help understand the mechanisms through which lack of sleep increases this risk.

“It is particularly interesting that these factors contributing to the onset of atherosclerosis, that is to say, inflammatory reactions and changes to cholesterol metabolism, were found both in the experimental study and in the epidemiological data,” Aho says.

The results highlight the health impact of good sleep. The researchers emphasise that health education should focus on the significance of good, sufficient sleep in preventing common diseases, in addition to healthy food and exercise. Even a small reduction in illnesses, or even postponing the onset of an illness, would result in significant cost savings for society at large.

“The experimental study proved that just one week of insufficient sleep begins to change the body’s immune response and metabolism. Our next goal is to determine how minor the sleep deficiency can be while still causing such changes,” Aho states.

Background:

The Sleep Team Helsinki research group, led by Dr. Tarja Porkka-Heiskanen (Stenberg), is studying the impact of sleep loss on immune defence and metabolism, particularly lipid and cholesterol metabolism. It has previously been established through epidemiological studies that people who sleep less than they should have a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, a higher risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases, and a higher overall mortality over a set time span.

Cardiovascular diseases are known to be linked to both metabolism and the immune system. Sleep loss has been demonstrated to cause low-grade inflammatory state in the body, and this may contribute to the higher risk of disease. Carbohydrate metabolism has also been found to alter in sleep deficiency in ways that resemble type 2 diabetes. However, the impact of sleep loss on lipid and cholesterol metabolism has been studied very little.

This study employed three data sets:

  • Experimental SR study (N=21): An experiment conducted in cooperation with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health under strictly controlled laboratory conditions, simulating a work week with restricted sleep.
  • DILGOM (Dietary, Lifestyle and Genetic determinants of Obesity and Metabolic syndrome, N=518): A subset of the national FINRISK population study, collected to serve research into the risk factors for the metabolic syndrome.
  • Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS, N=2,221): A Finnish population study which followed the lifestyles and heart health of participants from childhood/youth. We used data from 2007, when participants were between the ages of 30 and 45.

These data sets were used in cooperation with the National Institute for Health and Welfare and the universities of Tampere and Turku, which were responsible for their collection and analysis. Metabolomic analyses were conducted at the University of Oulu. The research project also involved the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Source: University of Helsinki


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