Gadget: Drying Rack

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Chinese-style Fried Rice with Chicken and Shrimp

Ingredients

1 large pineapple
5 oz skinless and boneless chicken thigh, cut into dices
5 oz shrimp
2 oz pickled mixed vegetables 五柳菜
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely diced
3 cups cooked rice

Chicken Marinade

dash of sesame oil
pinch of white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp oil

Shrimp Marinade

dash of sesame oil
pinch of white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch

Seasoning

3/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
pinch of ground white pepper
1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp water

Method

  1. Cut away the upper quarter of the pineapple. Scoop out the flesh, leaving the hollow pineapple intact.
  2. Dissolve 1/2 tsp salt in 2 cups of water. Put in pineapple flesh and soak for 5 minutes. Remove, drain and wipe dry. Cut into dices. Only 3/4 cup of pineapple flesh is needed.
  3. Wash the pickled mixed vegetables properly, drain and cut into dices.
  4. Marinate the chicken for 10 minutes. Cook in boiling water until done. Remove and drain.
  5. Marinate the shrimp for 10 minutes. Cook in boiling water until done. Remove and drain.
  6. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a wok, add cooked rice and stir-fry until hot. Add ginger and seasoning. Stir-fry to mix thoroughly.
  7. Add chicken, shrimp, picked mixed vegetables, pineapple flesh and green onion. Stir-fry to combine. Remove all ingredients into the hollow pineapple. Garnish with parsley and shreds of lettuce before serving.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

In Pictures: Ramen in Tokyo

Afuri Restaurant

Fuunji

Kagari

Suzuran

Kondouya

Asuka

Tonchin

Nagi Golden Gai

Rokurinsha

Are Health Claims of Functional and Fortified Foods True?

Magazine articles and news reports tout the benefits of eating “functional foods,” which they claim can do everything from reduce cholesterol to prevent conditions such as heart disease or cancer. At the grocery store, you’ll find plenty of breakfast cereals, yogurts and nut butters with similar health benefits proclaimed on their packaging.

Can these modified foods be considered functional foods? What is a functional food exactly?

To answer those questions, first, it’s important to note that all foods are functional as they deliver physiological benefits including protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates for energy or vitamins and minerals for cell function. But in the 1980s, the Japanese government created a class of “functional foods” — conventional and modified foods that included additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Here in the U.S., while the Food and Drug Administration does regulate foods labeled as functional, it does not provide a legal definition of the term.

Meanwhile, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines functional foods as: “whole foods along with fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels based on significant standards of evidence.”

Functional foods include:

  • Conventional foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
  • Modified foods such as yogurt, cereals and orange juice.
  • Medical foods such as special formulations of foods and beverages for certain health conditions.
  • Foods for special dietary use such as infant formula and hypoallergenic foods.

Because there’s no legal or governmental definition of what is a functional food, American consumers are left to evaluate a food’s health claims on their own. Pay more attention to the Nutrition Facts Label and ingredients list on the back of a food package than the claims on the front — this is where you will find factual information.

Another tricky area for consumers is food fortification — when labels claim that products include added vitamins and nutrients. Fortified foods have a place in a balanced diet, but they shouldn’t replace foods that naturally contain those nutrients. If you think you might have gaps in your nutrient intake or need a supplement, talk to a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Consider eating more of these nutrient-packed functional foods.

Cold-Water Fish — Sardines and Salmon

These protein-packed fish have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower overall risk of heart disease, reduce joint pain and improve brain development and function. About eight ounces of fish a week is a good goal.

Nuts

They make a great snack, help you feel full and can help control blood sugar levels. Bonus: Nuts, including cashews and almonds, are high in magnesium, which can lower blood pressure. Almonds, pecans and walnuts can help lower cholesterol.

Whole Grains — Barley

It gets overshadowed by the benefits of oatmeal, but barley delivers similar health benefits. It’s high in fiber, which most Americans lack in their diets, helps lower cholesterol and assists with blood sugar control, making it a good choice for people with diabetes. So eat your oatmeal in the morning; then, add barley to your soup at lunch.

Beans

Beans are another terrific source of fiber, as well as protein, potassium and folate. While canned beans are fine, look for those with no salt added. If you do choose beans with salt added, rinse them before use, which removes a significant amount of sodium.

Berries

Whether you pick strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, berries in general are wonderful functional foods. Not only are they low in calories, their anthocyanin pigments, which give them color, offer health promoting benefits. If you can’t get fresh berries, frozen unsweetened berries make a fine alternative.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

How Poor Sleep Might Raise Odds for Alzheimer’s

Researchers may have pinpointed the reason why poor sleep has been linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new study found that just one night of sleep disruption led to an increase in a protein called amyloid beta, while a week of sleep disturbance led to increased levels of a protein called tau. Both proteins are connected with Alzheimer’s disease.

“We showed that poor sleep is associated with higher levels of two Alzheimer’s-associated proteins,” said senior author Dr. David Holtzman. He is a professor and head of the department of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis.

“We think that perhaps chronic poor sleep during middle age may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s later in life,” Holtzman explained in a university news release.

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, the study authors said. And previous studies have shown a link between poor sleep and the memory-robbing disease.

For example, people who have sleep apnea — a condition that causes repeated pauses in breathing during the night — develop mild impairment in thinking and memory skills (called mild cognitive impairment) an average of 10 years earlier than people without the sleep disorder. Mild cognitive impairment can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers noted.

To try to tease out why sleep troubles might boost the risk of Alzheimer’s, the investigators recruited 17 healthy volunteers, aged 35 to 65. The study participants had no known sleep problems or mental impairments.

All of the study volunteers wore activity monitors for two weeks before they went to the lab to sleep for a night. The monitors measured the quality of their sleep, according to the report.

Half of the participants were randomly selected to have their sleep disrupted for the first night. A month or more later, the study participants returned, and the second half of the group had their sleep interrupted this time.

The day after each experiment, study volunteers had a spinal tap so levels of amyloid beta and tau could be measured.

The researchers found a 10 percent increase in amyloid beta after a single night of bad sleep. But there was no rise in tau after one bad night. However, those who had slept poorly in the week leading up to the experiment did have an increase in tau levels.

Dr. Yo-El Ju is the study’s co-first author, and an assistant professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis.

She said, “We were not surprised to find that tau levels didn’t budge after just one night of disrupted sleep while amyloid levels did, because amyloid levels normally change more quickly than tau levels. But we could see, when the participants had several bad nights in a row at home, that their tau levels had risen.”

So does this mean one bad night of sleep could boost your risk of Alzheimer’s disease?

Probably not, Ju said. Levels of amyloid beta and tau probably return to normal soon after the poor night or few nights’ of bad sleep.

“The main concern is people who have chronic sleep problems. I think that may lead to chronically elevated amyloid levels, which animal studies have shown lead to increased risk of amyloid plaques and Alzheimer’s,” Ju said.

The researchers don’t know if getting more or better sleep might reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, but neither can hurt, Ju suggested.

“Many, many Americans are chronically sleep-deprived, and it negatively affects their health in many ways,” she said in the news release.

“At this point, we can’t say whether improving sleep will reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. All we can really say is that bad sleep increases levels of some proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. But a good night’s sleep is something you want to be striving for anyway,” Ju said.

The study was published in the journal Brain.

Source: HealthDay


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