Video: Falls Prevention for Seniors

September 22 is the official first day of fall, it was also National Falls Prevention Awareness Day in the U.S.

Watch video at You Tube (1:00 minutes) . . . .


Source: National Council on Aging

What’s in a Name? What Every Consumer Should Know About Foods and Flavors

If you want to know if maple products have real maple syrup, you must look at the ingredient list on the package. Of the two examples shown above, only the top one is flavored with real maple syrup.

The same is true of other products, such as those with fruit flavors. The ingredient label will list the fruit or fruit juice if present in the food.


Many foods or beverages are flavored—but how can you tell where those flavors come from?

For example, if you’re digging into a bowl of cereal that has the word “maple” on the package, and even images of maple leaves, you may think you’re eating a product that contains maple syrup. But not so fast—the taste may come from added flavors.

The same goes for the lemon drink you’ve made from a package picturing fresh lemons. You probably think it was made with lemons, but it may be flavored with natural or artificial lemon flavor.

Why?

Current regulations allow use of terms like “maple,” “maple-flavored,” or “artificially maple-flavored” on the food label without having any maple syrup in the product, as long as it contains maple flavoring. This flavoring could come from a number of sources, including sap or bark from the maple tree. Or it could come from the herb fenugreek, which can impart a maple-like flavor.

Likewise, a lemon-flavored food or drink doesn’t necessarily have to contain lemons or lemon juice. However, this food has to be properly labeled if the source of the flavor is not from lemons. For example, if the flavor comes from an artificial source or a source other than lemon, the product’s name must reflect artificial lemon flavor. And if a strawberry shortcake is made with artificial strawberry flavoring, it must be called artificial strawberry-flavored shortcake.

Not everyone cares if the food actually includes a certain ingredient, as long as the flavor tastes right to them. But, says Douglas Balentine, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, if you don’t want a substitute source of the flavor you’re seeking—if, say, you want real maple syrup in your food—the information you need will be in the ingredient list on the food package.

What to Look for on the Ingredient List

Look for a specific mention of the original flavor source on the ingredient list. Some tips:

  • If you want a maple food that is made with maple syrup, look for the words “maple syrup” in the ingredient list. In addition, the firm may voluntarily declare “made with 100% maple syrup” elsewhere on the label.
  • In some situations, you may see the term “natural flavor” in the ingredient list. If the maple flavor comes from a natural maple flavor, you may see “natural maple flavor” or “natural flavor” in the ingredient list.
  • If you want a product made or flavored with the actual fruit, look for the name of the fruit (“grapefruit”) or the name of a juice made from the fruit (“grapefruit juice”) in the ingredient list.

There are some exceptions. So, a product labeled as a butter product — for instance, “butter cookies”— has to be 100 percent butter to include the term. If the food contains both butter and shortening, an appropriate name would be “butter-flavored.”

And if you want real chocolate, look for “chocolate” in the ingredient list.

According to Felicia Billingslea, director of the FDA’s Food Labeling and Standards Staff, there is also a caveat involving the use of cocoa as an ingredient. “Consumers have long recognized that products like chocolate pudding, cake, and cookies may be made with cocoa,” she says. As long as “cocoa” is listed in the ingredient list, the name of the food can include the term “chocolate in certain situations.”

Finally, if the name of the food is accompanied by terms such as “artificial flavors,” or “natural and artificial flavors,” it is a signal that the original source of the flavor may not have been used in the food.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Thai-style Fried Meatballs

Ingredients

100 g fresh egg noodle
250 g shrimp, shelled and deveined
250 g ground pork
mayonnaise to serve

Seasoning

1 tsp minced garlic
1 sprig cilantro, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 egg
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp chicken broth mix
4 water chestnuts, cut into dices
2 tsp cornstarch
1 to 2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Mash shrimp into a paste and mix with the ground pork.
  2. Add the seasoning ingredients and mix well.
  3. Shape meat mixture into small balls.
  4. Wrap each meatball with a few strands of noodles, enclosing it completely.
  5. Deep-fry the meatballs in hot oil for 6 minutes until golden brown and fully cooked.
  6. Drain meatballs well and place them on paper towels to adsorb excess oil. Serve meatballs with mayonnaise.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

In Pictures: Foods of Japadog Restaurant in Vancouver, Canada

Japanese-style Hot Dog

Cutting Calories May Reduce Inflammation

Eating less may help us lead longer, more healthful lives, according to the new results from a large multicenter study led by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. The paper, published in Aging, reveals that restricting calories by 25% in healthy nonobese individuals over two years, while maintaining adequate protein, vitamin, and mineral intake, can significantly lower markers of chronic inflammation without negatively affecting other parts of the immune system.

“Previous studies in animals and simple model organisms over the past 85 years have supported the notion that calorie restriction can increase the lifespan by reducing inflammation and other chronic disease risk factors, but with mixed results about whether it has a negative or null effect on cell-mediated immune responses,” says first and corresponding author Simin Nikbin Meydani, DVM, PhD, director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts and the director of its Nutritional Immunology Laboratory. “This is the first study to examine these effects over two years on healthy weight, normal weight, or slightly overweight individuals and observe that caloric restriction reduces inflammation without compromising other key functions of the immune system such as antibody production in response to vaccines.”

Chronic inflammation has been shown to create successions of destructive reactions that damage cells, thus playing a major role in the development of age-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases, with heart disease and cancer accounting for nearly 48% of all deaths. The CDC also reports in that same year 86% of all health care spending was for people with one or more chronic medical conditions.

After six weeks of baseline testing, which included metabolic measurements to determine their total daily energy expenditure, and blood collection to evaluate inflammation and cell-mediated immunity markers, 220 eligible individuals were randomized into two groups and further stratified by site, sex, and BMI.

The control group maintained their normal diet for the duration of the study, while the test group was provided with support to maintain a high-satiety diet that restricted their calories by 25% including customized behavioral guidance. The test group was also given multivitamin and mineral supplements to prevent micronutrient malnutrition. To maintain a 25% reduction in calories, the test group’s calorie prescriptions were reduced three times through the two-year study to coincide with their weight loss based on body fat and muscle mass calculations.

Both inflammation and immunity biomarkers were measured at baseline, 12 months, and at 24 months. Response to vaccines was determined at the end of the study. As an indicator of susceptibility to infectious disease, cell-mediated immunity was measured by antibody response to three vaccines and skin prick tests, white blood cell count, and self-reported illness. In addition, inflammation was monitored using serum levels of common inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, TNF alpha, and leptin.

The research team found that the test group had a significant and persistent reduction in inflammatory markers with no discernable difference in immune responses from the control group at the end of 24 months. However, while reduction in weight, fat mass, and leptin levels were most pronounced at 12 months, they were not accompanied by the significant reduction in C-reactive protein and TNF alpha, both indicators of inflammation, until 24 months. This delay suggests that long-term calorie restriction, at least 24 months, induces other mechanisms that may play a role in the reduction of inflammation.

“This may be one of the most powerful nongenetic interventions to slow aging and increase our health span and the quality of our lives,” according to Meydani, also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University School of Medicine, and a member of the immunology program faculty at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.

“These calorie-restricted changes suggest a shift toward a healthy phenotype given the established role of inflammation in the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and aging. With all of today’s fitness and biometric measurement technology available to the public, it is certainly feasible for the average person to maintain a 10% to 15% calorie restriction as a strategy for long-term health benefits,” says coauthor Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, a research professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and Brescia University in Italy.

Source: Tufts University


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