In Pictures: Late-Night Hotel Room Service Around the World

Anantara Siam, Bangkok

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris

Raffles Dubai

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

The Dorchester, London

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

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Cendol Ice 珍多冰

Ingredients

1 pack green pudding starch 爪哇布甸粉 (see picture below)
coconut milk
crushed ice

Syrup

1/4 cup sugar
3 oz slab sugar 片糖, diced
4 oz diced coconut sugar

Method

  1. Dissolve the sugar with 1/3 cup water over low heat. Bring to a boil. Drain through a sieve and cool. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot with ice water and ice cubes. Set aside.
  3. Mix pudding starch with 4-1/4 cups of water and cook until thickened. Keep on stirring when cooking. When it is thickened, pour it through a stainless steel strainer into the pot of ice water. The mixture will be set into stripes in the ice water. Remove, drain and chill in the refrigerator.
  4. To serve, put some syrup and the prepared stripes in a dessert glass. Add coconut milk and crushed ice. Serve cold

Source: Hong Kong magazine


Manuka Honey: Is It Really A Superfood?

Amanda Barrell wrote . . . . . .

Historical use of honey

Honey has been used to treat wounds since ancient times, as detailed in a document dating back to 1392. It was believed to help in the fight against infection, but the practice fell out of favor with the advent of antibiotics.

As we face the challenge of a growing worldwide resistance to antibiotics, scientists are examining the properties and potential of honey.

Qualities of Manuka honey

The leaves of the Manuka tree, also known as a tea tree, have been known for centuries among the indigenous tribes of New Zealand and southern Australia for their healing powers.

Bees that collect nectar from this tree make Manuka honey, which harbors some of healing properties.

All honey contains antimicrobial properties, but Manuka honey also contains non-hydrogen peroxide, which gives it an even greater antibacterial power.

Some studies have found Manuka honey can also help to boost production of the growth factors white blood cells need to fight infection and to heal tissue.

Manuka honey contains a number of natural chemicals that make it different:

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO): This has been shown to be effective against several bacteria, including Proteumirabilis and Enterobacter cloacae.
  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): This is found in the nectar of Manuka flowers and converts into MGO during the honey production process.
  • Leptosperin: This is a naturally occurring chemical found in the nectar of Manuka plants and a few close relatives.

Manuka honey and wound care

Medical grade honey, used by healthcare professionals as part of a wound dressing, can help some kinds of wounds to heal.

Experts believe that because Manuka honey has added antibacterial and healing properties, it may be even more effective. At the moment, however, there is little evidence to support the theory.

A Cochrane Review looked at all the evidence available to support the use of honey in wound care. Published in 2015, the study said the differences in wound types made it impossible to draw overall conclusions about the effects of honey on healing.

The study found strong evidence that honey heals partial thickness burns around 4 to 5 days more quickly than conventional dressings. There is also evidence indicating that honey is more effective than antiseptic and gauze for healing infected surgical wounds.

Another study concluded that honey has rapid diabetic wound healing properties, but recommended more research to confirm that honey can be used as a first line of treatment for these types of wounds.

While some research does show that honey can help improve certain conditions, more studies are needed to confirm honey’s benefits for:

  • mixed acute and chronic wounds
  • pressure ulcers
  • Fournier’s gangrene
  • venous leg ulcers
  • minor acute wounds
  • Leishmaniasis

Manuka honey and bacteria

Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial infections all over the world. However, the bacteria the drugs are deployed to kill can adapt and become resistant.

Manuka honey has antibacterial properties, and may be able to fight superbugs resistant to most standard antibiotics.

This resistance is currently happening all over the world, and a growing number of infections are becoming harder to treat. This leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and ultimately, more deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed resistance to antibiotics as the one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development.

The natural antibacterial properties of honey may be useful in this fight. In the lab, Manuka honey has been shown to be able to inhibit around 60 species of bacteria. These include Escherichia coli (E. coli) and salmonella.

Some studies have shown that Manuka honey can fight so-called superbugs that have become resistant to antibiotics. These include staphylococcus aureus (MRSA-15) and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

This line of investigation is still in its infancy. These have been small, lab-based tests which combined medical grade Manuka honey with antibiotics.

There is still a lot of work to be done before scientists can come to a conclusion.

Other health benefits

There are many other potential health benefits of Manuka honey. These include:

  • reducing high cholesterol
  • reducing inflammation
  • reducing acid reflux
  • treating acne

There is, however, limited evidence for its use in these areas.

Using Manuka honey

The medical grade honey used to dress wounds is very different from the honey sold in stores.

Medical grade honey is sterilized, with all impurities removed, and prepared as a dressing. Wounds and infections should always be seen and treated by a healthcare professional.

Store-bought Manuka honey can be used in the same manner as any other honey: on toast, on porridge, or to sweeten drinks.

There is no clear evidence that people who consume Manuka honey in this way will notice any benefit to their health. It is not clear how the active ingredients that provide Manuka honey with its healing properties survive in the gut.

Risks

Honey is usually around 80 percent sugar, mainly supplied by glucose, fructose, and sucrose, so moderate intake is recommended. This is particularly true if you have diabetes.

Due to the recent trend for Manuka honey, it can be expensive, so it is important to make sure you know what you are looking for.

When buying Manuka honey from the store, look for the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) mark. This means the honey has been produced by one of the 100+ beekeepers, producers, and exporters licenced by the UMF Honey Association.

The number displayed next to the UMF mark represents the quantity of Manuka key markers, leptosperin, DHA and MGO. Consumers are advised to choose UMF 10+ and above.

Source: Medical News Today

Reset the Taste Buds of You and Your Family for Less Sugar

Jessica Cording wrote . . . . . .

High added sugar intake has been linked to everything from dental cavities to obesity to Type 2 diabetes to heart disease to other health conditions — many of which last into adulthood. Minimizing added sugars is a priority for many parents, but it’s not as simple as trading cookies and soda for fruit and water. Avoiding obvious sources is one thing, but added sugar can be found in many foods where you may not expect it. Tweet this

According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, added sugars include sugars, syrups and other caloric sweeteners. Simply put, added sugars sweeten a food — and although they add calories, they offer virtually no nutrition.

On an ingredient label, sugar may appear under many names — more than 50, actually. Some of the most common ones include cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, raw sugar and crystal solids. And, don’t forget brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and brown rice syrup.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommends Americans limit added sugars to no more than 10 percent of their daily calorie needs. That’s about 12 teaspoons (48 grams of sugar) on a 2,000-calorie diet. But for kids — especially little kids, who may only need 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day — it’s even less.

But, rather than obsessing over grams and teaspoons, focus on reducing added sugars by limiting products that contain them.

Common Sources of Added Sugars

Some sources of added sugars are easy to spot, such as:

  • Sugary beverages (soda, fruit punch, sweet coffee and energy drinks)
  • Sugary cereal
  • Candy and chocolates
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Baked goods such as cakes, pastries and cookies

However, added sugars can hide in some surprising places, including:

  • Whole-grain cereals and granola
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Frozen foods
  • Granola bars, protein bars and cereal bars
  • Pasta sauce
  • Dried fruit, canned fruit, applesauce and fruit juices
  • Baby food
  • Barbecue sauce, ketchup, salad dressing and other condiments

Tips for Avoiding Added Sugars

The first step in reducing your family’s added sugar intake takes place in the grocery store. Scan labels for added sweeteners and, instead, fill your shopping cart with healthier options. “I recommend using fruits and vegetables that are naturally sweet when baking or cooking,” said Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RDN, CSSD, who is a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Examples include bananas, sweet potatoes and apples. You can add a mashed banana to your oatmeal in the morning and microwave it for a minute, which adds sweetness to the oatmeal.”

“For beverages, I recommend water, milk, unsweetened tea and sparking water,” she added.

You also can reduce added sugar intake at home by cooking from scratch. By making your own granola, pasta sauce and condiments and serving homemade baked treats, you are in control of the ingredients used. “I also reduce the amount of sugar I use in recipes,” says Pritchett. “Watch out for added sugars in things like granola bars by making your own at home. Opt for plain yogurt and sweeten your own with frozen fruit or a drizzle of honey.” This trick works with cereal too. As your family’s taste buds adjust, gradually use less and less of the sweetened varieties.

Make a healthy relationship with food the overall focus instead of a completely sugar-free diet. Encourage positive associations with foods such as fruits and vegetables by playing up their good qualities and fresh taste — and save the sweet stuff for special occasions.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Risk of Death

Andrew M. Seaman wrote . . . . .

People who drink the most coffee are less likely to die than those who drink the least or none, according to two new studies that followed nearly three quarters of a million people for about 16 years.

The results don’t necessarily mean coffee directly prevents people from dying, but researchers suggest they should at least reassure people who can’t get by without their daily cup of joe.

“It’s premature that people start consuming coffee to improve health outcomes,” said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. “However, if they do so, they should probably do it without a lot of concern.”

“I think for some people, it’s going to put their minds at ease,” said Lichtenstein, who wasn’t involved with either of the new studies.

Previous research from the United States and Japan found a reduced risk of death among coffee drinkers, but little was known about whether such a link also existed in Europe, where coffee-drinking habits vary between countries.

People in Denmark drink larger quantities of coffee than Italians who drink smaller and stronger drinks like espresso, for example.

For one of the new studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the authors examined data collected over about 16 years from 521,330 people living in 10 European countries. There were 41,693 deaths over the study period.

Men who reported drinking the most coffee were about 12 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period, compared to men who didn’t drink coffee. Similarly, women who drank the most coffee were about 7 percent less likely to die during that time than women who didn’t drink any.

Despite the people being so different from country to country, the researchers saw a consistent relationship, said co-lead author Neil Murphy, of the Inter Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

They found coffee tied to a reduced risk of death from digestive diseases among both men and women, along with a decreased risk of death from circulatory and cerebrovascular diseases among women. Women with the biggest coffee habit, however, had an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer.

“A lot more research is needed to tease apart what it is in coffee that might be having these effects,” Murphy told Reuters Health.

Until more is known, he, too, said the findings at least suggest coffee isn’t detrimental to people’s health.

A second study also looked at coffee consumption among diverse populations in the U.S.

“Finding in one population doesn’t necessarily apply to others,” said V. Wendy Setiawan, of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

For their study, the researchers analyzed data on 185,855 people aged 45 to 75 years who were African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese American, Latino or white.

Over roughly 16 years of follow up, 58,397 people died.

Compared to people who drank no coffee, those who drank one cup per day were 12 percent less likely to die during follow up. People who drank two or more cups per day were 18 percent less likely to die.

Setiawan also said their study can’t say what is behind the link between coffee and lower risk of death.

“Caffeine is the most studied compound, but we see similar patterns among people who drink decaffeinated,” she said.

Lichtenstein also said it could be that people who drink coffee aren’t drinking other beverages with a lot of calories like apple juice.

“I always felt its one of the few things that I enjoy that doesn’t have calories,” she said.

Of course, she said that doesn’t apply if people add a lot of cream and sugar.

Source: Reuters


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