Mango Pudding

In the shape of sea urchin

A new Asian sweet from Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo for a price of 850 yen each.

Fresh Look at Brown Rice

Lindsey Getz wrote in Today’s Dietitian . . . . .

An Overview of Its History and Health Benefits

Rice has been a staple crop across much of Asia for millennia. Even today, rice provides nearly 20% of our total available calories worldwide.1 It can be grown in a wide range of environmental and soil conditions and is produced in more than 100 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. There are many varieties of rice, most often classified by the size of the grain: short, medium, and long. At the supermarket, whole grain (also called brown) rice—which comprises the entire seed of the plant, including the bran, germ, and endosperm—can be found in each of these grain lengths. Some supermarkets carry brown basmati rice or brown jasmine rice, two aromatic varieties of long grain rice prized for their distinctive fragrance and flavors. In addition, red, wild, black, and purple rice are whole grain rice. While it hasn’t always been in fashion, brown rice has become increasingly popular and has been part of an interesting history.

In the past, the general population ate more brown rice because it cost less than white rice. As with many grains, white rice was once considered more of a luxury product because of all the polishing and refining it required to produce it, says Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN, program director of the Whole Grains Council. According to Toups, rice milling took off in the 1870s. With milling, the increased accessibility of white rice to the masses suddenly made it more popular among the general population. However, around this same time, Dutch scientists had linked a white-rice diet to sickness in chickens. Conversely, it was found that brown rice appeared to reverse the illness. This finding ultimately heralded the importance of a vitamin-rich diet as scientists began to understand the link between diet and health.2

Craig Sams, author of The Macrobiotic Brown Rice Cookbook, who was once known as the “brown rice baron” (any brown rice purchased in the United Kingdom in the 1970s came through his company Harmony Foods), reported that brown rice also has been thought of in terms of food supply over the years. During the Vietnam War, Sams says the Thai army and Viet Cong traditionally would eat brown rice as combat rations; they carried it in a pouch around their necks. But he says it was the macrobiotic movement that “gave brown rice its legs” in other parts of the world, including Europe and the United States. In the 1960s and 1970s, brown rice grew in popularity as the health movement began to flourish, according to Toups. And now most people think of brown rice as more of a premium product, compared with white rice. Toups says this is because the appreciation for its texture, flavor, and of course health benefits have grown. Over the past four years, brown rice has seen a 28% menu growth, indicating that consumers are looking for more whole grain menu options, and they’re turning to rice as a healthful choice.

Nutrient Content

While there may be a better understanding of brown rice’s health benefits today, it’s long been known (dating back to those Dutch scientists) that brown rice was superior in its nutrient content to white rice, which has the bran and germ removed. But what are some of the benefits of brown rice? Compared with unenriched white rice, whole grain rice is richer in nutrients, including fiber, protein, B vitamins, and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and copper.

To make up for these nutrient shortfalls in the milling of rice, white rice in the United States is fortified using a micronutrient powder, which includes thiamin, niacin, folic acid, and iron during the manufacturing process (see “Brown and White Rice Comparison”). It’s important to remember that brown rice naturally includes these nutrients, as well as others not plentiful in white rice. Moreover, whole grain rice contains more phytochemical compounds than white rice; this is particularly true of the most colorful varieties.

“As a purely refined carbohydrate, [unenriched] white rice is a starch with very few nutrients,” says Qi Sun, ScD, MD, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “A diet of [unenriched] white rice is lacking in key vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But brown rice has many benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties.”

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Read the full article at Today’s Dietitian . . . . .

My Food

Meatless Lunch – Stuffed Acorn Squash with Amaranth and Salad Green

No-rice Risotto with Quinoa and Pumpkin Seeds


4 cups low-sodium, vegetable stock
1-1/3 cups quinoa
1/3 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds, plus more for serving
1/2 bunch rapini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3-1/2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oi


  1. In large high-sided skillet or large pot, bring stock, quinoa and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
  2. Stir in rapini and cook, covered, until wilted and tender (1 to 2 minutes).
  3. Stir in lemon juice immediately before spooning into 4 bowls. Garnish with goat cheese, olive oil and a scattering of extra pumpkin seeds. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Sage magazine

Eating Your Greens Could Enhance Sport Performance

Nitrate supplementation in conjunction with Sprint Interval Training in low oxygen conditions could enhance sport performance a study has found.

Researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium carried out a study with twenty-seven moderately trained participants. These were given nitrate supplements ahead of Sprint Interval Training (SIT), which took the form of short but intense cycling sessions three times a week.

Nitrate is commonly found in diets rich in leafy green foods, like spinach and is important for the functioning of the human body, especially during exercising.

To assess differences in performance in different conditions, the study included workouts in normal oxygen conditions and in hypoxia conditions, which are low oxygen levels such as those found in high altitudes.

The observations published in Frontiers in Physiology were unexpected: after only five weeks, the muscle fiber composition changed with the enhanced nitrate intake when training in low oxygen conditions.

“This is probably the first study to demonstrate that a simple nutritional supplementation strategy, i.e. oral nitrate intake, can impact on training-induced changes in muscle fiber composition;” stated Professor Peter Hespel from the Athletic Performance Center at the University of Leuven.

For athletes participating in sports competitions which require energy production in conditions with limited amounts of oxygen, this study is particularly interesting. In fact, exercising at high altitudes has become a training strategy for many athletes, albeit the uncertainties about such methods.

In these conditions, performing intense workouts requires high input of fast-oxidative muscle fibers to sustain the power. Enhancing these muscle fiber types through nutritional intake could very well boost the performance in this type of events.

However, this remains a question mark for the time being. “Whether this increase in fast-oxidative muscle fibers eventually can also enhance exercise performance remains to be established;” said Professor Hespel.

He cautioned: “consistent nitrate intake in conjunction with training must not be recommended until the safety of chronic high-dose nitrate intake in humans has been clearly demonstrated”.

In times where athletes push the limits of their bodies and thrive for ever greater performances, this is clearly only the beginning of the research into how athletes can improve their competitive edge through dietary supplements. Looking to the future, Professor Hespel suggested: “it would now be interesting to investigate whether addition of nitrate-rich vegetables to the normal daily sports diet of athletes could facilitate training-induced muscle fiber type transitions and maybe in the long term also exercise performance”.

Source: Frontier

Read more:

Nitrate Intake Promotes Shift in Muscle Fiber Type Composition during Sprint Interval Training in Hypoxia . . . . .

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