Black Bean Cheese Cake

The price for a box of 4 cakes is 1,600 yen in Japan.

A Wheat-filled Sweet Treat with Dried Fruits


1/3 cup bulgur wheat
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup dried prune, seeded and pureed
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the bulgur wheat and water. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C). Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Into a medium bowl, sift together the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, and cinnamon.
  4. To the bulgur mixture, add the buttermilk, honey, egg, prune puree, and apricots and beat until blended.
  5. Stir in the combined dry ingredients. Spread in the prepared pan.
  6. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving. Top with the lemon zest.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Mayo Clinic

In Pictures: Rose Gelato

Walk Your Way to Better Brain Health?

Just put one foot in front of the other and you’ll boost your brain at the same time.

That’s the conclusion of a small study that found the impact of a foot while walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that increases blood supply to the brain.

“New data now strongly suggest that brain blood flow is very dynamic,” said researcher Ernest Greene and his colleagues at New Mexico Highlands University.

Activities such as bicycling, walking and running may optimize brain function and overall sense of well-being during exercise, the researchers said.

Blood supply to the brain was once considered an involuntary action that wasn’t affected by exercise or changes in blood pressure. Previous research has shown, however, that the foot’s impact while running is associated with backward-flowing waves in the arteries that help regulate circulation to the brain.

These waves are in sync with the runner’s heart rate and stride, the study authors explained.

For the new study, scientists examined the effects of walking, which involves a lighter foot impact than running.

Using ultrasound technology, they measured the carotid-artery diameter and blood velocity waves of 12 healthy young adults to calculate the blood flow to their brains as they walked at a steady pace.

The participants were also assessed at rest.

The study showed that walking results in a significant increase in blood flow to the brain. The boost in blood flow isn’t as dramatic as with running, but it’s more notable than that seen with biking, which doesn’t involve any foot impact, the study authors said.

“What is surprising is that it took so long for us to finally measure these obvious hydraulic effects on cerebral blood flow,” said Greene, the study’s first author.

“There is an optimizing rhythm between brain blood flow and ambulating [walking]. Stride rates and their foot impacts are within the range of our normal heart rates [about 120/minute] when we are briskly moving along,” Greene said in a news release from the American Physiological Society.

The study’s findings were expected to be presented at the society’s annual meeting, in Chicago. Results of studies presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Source: HealthDay

Gut Bacteria May Turn Common Nutrient into Clot-enhancing Compound

Gut bacteria can produce a clot-enhancing compound when people eat a nutrient found in a variety of foods including meat, eggs and milk, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Excessive blood clotting limits or blocks blood flow which can cause heart attack, stroke, damage to the body’s organs or death.

The new study provides the first direct evidence in humans that consuming excess choline, an essential nutrient plentiful in a Western diet, raises both levels of the bacteria-produced compound, called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), and the tendency of platelets to clump together and form clots. Numerous studies have shown that higher blood levels of TMAO are associated with a greater risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes in humans, and recent studies showed that feeding animals choline-supplemented diets also raised their risk of clotting.

In this small study, 18 volunteers (8 vegan or vegetarian, 10 omnivores) without heart disease or major risk factors (average age 46 years, 40 percent male), took supplements of 500 milligrams (mg) of choline bitartrate twice daily for two months. The average daily intake is about 302 mg a day.

Researchers found:

  • Blood levels of TMAO rose more than 10 times after both 1 and 2 months of choline supplementation in both vegans/vegetarians and omnivores alike.
  • The tendency of platelets to form clots in a laboratory test rose with choline supplementation.
  • The ability of elevated TMAO levels to promote clot formation was reduced when subjects were also taking a daily baby aspirin (81 mg/day).

“Foods that raise TMAO may increase your risk for clotting and thrombotic events. Unless prescribed by your doctor, avoid supplements with choline. A Mediterranean or vegetarian diet is reported to help reduce TMAO,” said Stanley L. Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study, chair of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Source: American Heart Association

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