New Snack for Fall

Apple Custard Pie

The pie is sold in Japan for 150 yen each.

5 Heart Numbers You Need to Know

A Johns Hopkins heart disease expert shares what your body and lifestyle are trying to tell you through health numbers.

Call it a health numbers game. Knowing just a few key metrics can provide a pretty accurate picture of your current cardiac fitness—and give you ongoing motivation to maintain healthy heart numbers and improve less healthy ones.

“It’s important to remember that all of these numbers fall on a continuous scale,” says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H. “It’s not enough to say you have high or low blood pressure—your doctor is looking at how high or how low.”

Five key things to track to know your numbers:

1. How many steps you take per day

Moving a lot improves every other heart-health measure and disease risk, says Blaha. That’s why he often urges walking up to 10,000 steps a day, or almost five miles. Another rule of thumb is to exercise 150 minutes per week. “It’s better to be active than inactive,” Blaha says.

2. Your blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, has no symptoms; it can only be detected by being measured. A score of 120/80 is optimal, and 140/90 is normal for most people. Higher readings mean that arteries aren’t responding right to the force of blood pushing against artery walls (blood pressure), directly raising the risk of heart attack or stroke.

3. Your non-HDL cholesterol

That’s your total cholesterol reading minus your HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, a measure of fats in the blood that can narrow and clog arteries to the heart. Lower is better: Aim for a score lower than 130 mg/dL or, if you’re at a high risk of heart disease, lower than 70–100 mg/dL.

4. Your blood sugar

High blood sugar ups your risk of diabetes, which damages arteries. In fact, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are among the most harmful risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

5. How many hours of sleep a night you get

Although there’s no one “right” answer for all, consistently getting the number of hours that works for you helps lower the risk of heart disease, Blaha says. Most people need to sleep six to eight hours a night.

Source: The Johns Hopkins University

Spanish-style Chorizo and Fava Bean Omelet

Ingredients

8 oz frozen baby fava beans
6 eggs
3-1/2 oz chorizo sausage, outer casing removed, chopped
3 tbsp Spanish olive oil
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cook the fava beans in a pan of boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the chorizo sausage and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. When the beans are cool enough to handle, slip off their skins. This is a laborious task, but worth doing if you have the time. This quantity will take about 15 minutes to skin.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add the fava beans and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook gently for 2-3 minutes, or until the underside is just set and lightly browned. Use a spatula to loosen the tortilla (Spanish omelet) away from the side and bottom of the skillet to let the uncooked egg run underneath and prevent the tortilla from sticking to the bottom.
  6. Cover the tortilla with a large, upside-down plate and invert the tortilla onto it. Slide the tortilla back into the skillet, cooked-side up, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the underside is lightly browned.
  7. Slide the tortilla onto a warmed serving dish. Serve warm, cut into small cubes.

Serves 8 as part of a tapas meal.

Source: Tapas

Sausages Around the World

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Western Diet Increases Alzheimer’s Risk

Globally, about 42 million people now have dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease as the most common type of dementia. Rates of Alzheimer’s disease are rising worldwide. The most important risk factors seem to be linked to diet, especially the consumption of meat, sweets, and high-fat dairy products that characterize a Western Diet. For example, when Japan made the nutrition transition from the traditional Japanese diet to the Western diet, Alzheimer’s disease rates rose from 1% in 1985 to 7% in 2008, with rates lagging the nutrition transition by 20-25 years. The evidence of these risk factors, which come from ecological and observational studies, also shows that fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, and fish are associated with reduced risk. “Using Multicountry Ecological and Observational Studies to Determine Dietary Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease,” a review article from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition presents the data.

In addition to reviewing the journal literature, a new ecological study was conducted using Alzheimer’s disease prevalence from 10 countries (Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Egypt, India, Mongolia, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, and the United States) along with dietary supply data 5, 10, and 15 years before the prevalence data. Dietary supply of meat or animal products (minus milk) 5 years before Alzheimer’s disease prevalence had the highest correlations with Alzheimer’s disease prevalence in this study. The study discussed the specific risk each country and region faces for developing Alzheimer’s disease based on their associated dietary habits.

Residents of the United States seem to be at particular risk, with each person in the U.S. having about a 4% chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, likely due in part to the Western dietary pattern, which tends to include a large amount of meat consumption. The author, William B. Grant, states, “reducing meat consumption could significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as of several cancers, diabetes mellitus type 2, stroke, and, likely, chronic kidney disease.”

He concludes, “Mounting evidence from ecological and observational studies, as well as studies of mechanisms, indicates that the Western dietary pattern — especially the large amount of meat in that diet — is strongly associated with risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and several other chronic diseases. Although the traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with about half the risk for Alzheimer’s disease of the Western diet, the traditional diets of countries such as India, Japan, and Nigeria, with very low meat consumption, are associated with an additional 50% reduction in risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Source: AlphaGalileo


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