Video: Food Portion Size Changes Over the Last 20 Years

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How to Choose the Healthiest Fish

Janet Lee wrote . . . . .

What’s the healthiest fish? Salmon probably comes to mind, but there are other fish that are good for your body and eco-friendly, too.

Packed with protein, fish is one of the best foods you can put on your dinner plate. It’s the only one that directly supplies omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that is important for heart and brain health. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna are among the healthiest fish because they’re excellent sources of omega-3s, but all fish and shellfish have some.

“There’s very solid science showing that omega-3s can help reduce inflammatory factors associated with a variety of chronic diseases, including heart disease,” says Marian Neuhouser, Ph.D., R.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

There is a catch: Some fish are high in mercury, which can be toxic to the nervous system. But this means making smart choices, not cutting out fish altogether. According to the Department of Agriculture’s new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued in 2015, “for the majority of wild-caught and farmed species, neither the risks of mercury nor organic pollutants [toxic substances that can accumulate through the food chain] outweigh the health benefits of seafood consumption.”

A Consumer Reports investigation found that canned tuna is a common source of mercury and should be avoided by pregnant women. Children and women who are breast-feeding or may become pregnant should stick to light varieties. White tuna, or albacore, had much higher mercury levels.

Seafood sustainability is another factor to consider when choosing fish to eat. Increased demand and lax fishing practices can lead to overfishing and can damage other possibly at-risk species that often get caught up in nets with the intended catch. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch ( lists options that are fished or farmed in ways that protect the environment.

Your best strategy is to aim for 8 ounces per week of sustainably farmed or wild-caught, low-mercury fish. Among the healthiest fish are: Atlantic mackerel, Pacific sardines, freshwater (farmed) coho salmon and wild-caught salmon (including canned), and sablefish (black cod) from Alaska.

Source: Consumer Reports

Spinach & Crabmeat Soup


Spinach Soup

8 oz cooked spinach drained, blend to a puree
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil

Crabmeat Soup

2 oz crabmeat, loosened
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
2 egg whites

Cornstarch Solution

2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp of water. Divide into two portions


  1. Bring spinach soup ingredients to a boil and then add one portion of cornstarch solution to thicken the soup.
  2. Pour soup into a large serving bowl.
  3. Mix and boil crabmeat soup ingredients except the egg whites. Stir in the remaining cornstarch solution, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drizzle in the egg whites.
  4. Carefully pour crabmeat soup into spinach soup to form a ying yang pattern. Serve hot.

Note: Avoid over-cooking the spinach. It will turn yellow.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Gourmet DIY

In Pictures: Toasts with Avocado

Alcohol, Processed Meats May Raise Stomach Cancer Risk

Alcohol, processed meats — such as hot dogs, ham and bacon — and excess weight all may raise a person’s risk of stomach cancer, a new review finds.

Further, the risk seems to increase as a person drinks more alcohol, or eats more processed meats or gains more weight, the review states.

It was released Wednesday by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.

The review concludes that in the United States, about one in seven stomach cancer cases could be prevented if people did not drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day, did not eat processed meat and maintained a healthy weight. That’s approximately 4,000 stomach cancer cases every year.

“This is the first report to find strong evidence of these links,” said Alice Bender, head of nutrition programs at the cancer institute. “There are things we can do to lower our risk for cancer. There are choices we make every day that can make a difference.”

However, the report did not prove that these factors cause stomach cancer; it only showed an association.

The report suggests that:

  • Three or more alcoholic drinks per day every day increases risk of stomach cancer. A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
  • For every 1.8 ounces of processed meat eaten every day — the equivalent of one hot dog or two slices of bologna — the risk of cancer in the lower stomach rises by 18 percent.
  • Every five-unit increase in body mass index — BMI, a ratio of weight to height — causes a 23 percent increased risk of cancer in the upper stomach.

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third most common cause of death by cancer, the report stated. Just last October, the World Health Organization determined that processed meat can cause cancer.

Nearly 1 million new stomach cancer cases are recorded each year around the world, accounting for 7 percent of all new cases of cancer. The five-year survival rate is 25 percent to 28 percent, largely because symptoms only appear at a late stage, according to the report.

Men are twice as likely as women to develop stomach cancer, and it is more common in older adults. The average age at diagnosis in the United States is 72, the report added.

For the report, researchers combined and analyzed all scientific data available on stomach cancer, diet, physical activity and weight. The analysis included 89 studies covering 17.5 million adults, including 77,000 with stomach cancer.

“You usually can’t take the result of a single study as proof. You like to see patterns,” said study co-author Dr. Anne McTiernan, an epidemiologist with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “By combining all this evidence, you’re able to really see what these associations look like.”

The researchers took an additional step by looking at how the risk factors affected the two different types of stomach cancer — cancers of the upper stomach near the esophagus, and cancers of the lower stomach.

Overweight and obesity appear to increase risk of upper stomach cancer, possibly because the excess weight causes acid reflux that irritates the lining of the upper stomach and esophagus, McTiernan and Bender explained.

It’s also possible that excess fat increases cancer risk because it promotes the release of hormones such as insulin, human growth factors and other inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream, they added.

On the other hand, alcohol and processed meat appear to mainly increase the risk of lower stomach cancer, the report found.

Processed meats contain preservatives like nitrates and salt, or byproducts like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) when smoked. These have previously have been linked to cancer risk, McTiernan and Bender said.

“We can’t pinpoint any one thing, but there are a number of plausible mechanisms why processed meat would increase the risk of stomach cancer,” Bender said.

Alcohol also has been linked to the risk for other types of cancer, McTiernan added. Bender noted that alcohol might serve as a solvent that helps carcinogens get into a person’s cells, or that the body might break alcohol down into pro-cancer substances.

People might want to consider processed meat a once-in-a-while treat based on these findings, said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society.

“People should lower their intake of processed meat and consider it something they eat more on occasion, rather than a regular part of their diet,” she said.

On the other hand, current guidelines already restrict alcohol consumption to one drink daily for women, and two drinks daily for men, so people sticking to that wouldn’t have to change their habits.

“If you follow current cancer prevention guidelines, that would definitely be consistent with this report,” McCullough said.

Experts differed on whether these individual risk factors can combine to increase a person’s odds of developing stomach cancer. For example, would a person who drinks alcohol and eats processed meat have a greater risk than a person who only drinks?

McTiernan said that risk factors often overlap — like the fact that drinkers also are more likely to smoke. “It can be hard to tease those apart,” she said, making it difficult to tell whether the risks add up or not.

But several studies have shown that if people adopt multiple cancer-reduction strategies in their everyday life, they have a reduced risk of either developing or dying from cancer compared with people who only adopt a single strategy, McCullough said.

“It does seem the more healthy things you do, the more benefit in terms of lowering risk,” she said.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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