Gadget: Magic Lock Mug

It will not fall over and spill if pushed side way.

The suction cup will hold the cup steady and release it when you lift the cup straight up.

The twin-wall structure of the cup also helps to keep the drink inside warm or cool.

The price is around 2,000 yen depending on the colour of the mug (choice of 3 colours).

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Chinese-style Braised Tofu

Ingredients

3 pieces medium-firm tofu (about 1 lb)
1 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp soybean paste (optional)

Seasoning

1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup vegetable broth

Method

  1. Drain Tofu and steam for 3 minutes. Cut into dices.
  2. Heat 3 Tbsp oil, saute garlic and soybean paste.
  3. Stir in seasoning and bring to a boil. Add tofu and cook until sauce is dried up (keep stirring to avoid tofu sticking to pan).
  4. Mix in green onion and remove to serving platter.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

What’s More Nutritious, Orange Juice Or An Orange?

Maria Godoy wrote . . . . . .

We all could probably eat more fruits and vegetables. But if forced to choose between whole fruit or a glass of juice, which one seems more healthful?

The general advice is to opt for the fruit, since juices are stripped of the fiber – which most us don’t get enough of — in whole fruit. And let’s face it: Most juice contains a lot of sugar, which most of us consume too much of.

So our interest was piqued when we spotted a study suggesting that, when it comes to oranges, juice might actually unlock more carotenoids and flavonoids – both beneficial phytonutrients — than an equivalent amount of fruit.

To figure that out, German and Saudi researchers started with a big batch of fresh navel oranges. They analyzed the fruit in three forms: peeled segments, a mashed-up puree and as juice, both fresh-squeezed and pasteurized. They found that levels of vitamin C and carotenoids were basically the same in the juice and the unprocessed fruit, while levels of flavonoids were significantly lower.

But then the scientists threw their orange test foods into in a test tube model designed to mimic digestion, and that’s when things got interesting: Much more of the carotenoids and flavonoids were released from the orange juice than from the fruit slices or mush. The differences were striking: Carotenoid release went up from nearly 11 percent in the fruit to 28 percent in the fresh juice, and up to 39.5 percent in the pasteurized juice. Meanwhile, flavonoids were boosted nearly five-fold in juice compared to fruit.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, are scientifically intriguing. For example, the researchers suspect heat may have something to do with the extra carotenoids released in pasteurized juice.

But that’s no excuse to quit peeling oranges and gulp down a glass of OJ instead.

For starters, the study used a test tube model to mimic digestion, so it doesn’t tell us anything about how well these nutrients could be absorbed in the human body, notes Jeffrey Blumberg, who directs the Antioxidant Research Laboratory at Tufts University.

That said, the new study “is in line with other studies that have found that nutrients in some fruits and vegetables are more bioavailable when the produce is chopped, mashed, juiced or prepared with oils,” Blumberg notes in an email to The Salt.

Indeed, there’s a whole avenue of research that is challenging our understanding of how to unleash the nutrition fixed inside fruits and veggies. For instance, as we’ve reported, we get more beta-carotene from tomatoes when we add a little fat like olive oil, and gently cooking carrots can coax them to release more nutrients. And while cooking broccoli for too long can destroy its antioxidants, chopping it is ideal.

But fruit juice is a different story — especially if you’re buying a typical jug at the store, instead of making it yourself (like they did in the study).

As Wendy White, a professor of food science and nutrition at Iowa State University, notes, drinking fruit juice spikes blood sugar levels more and faster than eating whole fruit, and one Harvard study linked regular juice consumption to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Those downsides of juice far outweigh any boost in carotenoids, says White.

What’s more, store-bought fruit juice has, on average, only a bit less concentrated fructose than sodas. Some researchers believe that fructose is a riskier form of sugar than glucose because it increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease. And the liquid sugar in juice, White says, leaves your stomach a lot more quickly than a whole orange does, so “juice is less filling.”

There’s also a question of calories: An 8-ounce glass of juice has roughly the same amount of energy as two oranges.

But “the calories you drink somehow don’t register,” says Maret Traber, a professor and researcher at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

We tend to gulp juice down mindlessly, she says. By contrast, “if you eat an orange, you spend the time peeling it, you get the orange smell on your hands. There’s that whole experience of eating an orange. If you have the same amount of juice — that little half-cup — you suck it down, and you didn’t even notice you ate it.”

That said, if you are drinking OJ, choose the kind with pulp, Traber says. That way at least you’re getting some fiber.

Source: npr

Researchers Advise Caution about Recent US Advice on Agressively Lowering Blood Pressure

Medical researchers at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, are advising caution when treating blood pressure in some older people — after results from a study contrasted with recent advice from the US to attempt to aggressively lower blood pressure in all adults to targets of 120mmHg.

Researchers from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, have recently published the findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Internal Medicine).

A large randomised blood pressure trial led by US investigators — the Systolic blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) — demonstrated that lowering systolic blood pressure to levels of 120mmHg or less compared with 140mmHg or less in adults (over 50 years with cardiovascular risk) significantly reduced death (from all causes and from heart failure and heart attacks). The study also reported that common side effects of low blood pressure such as falls, injuries, blackouts, and drops in blood pressure after standing were not increased by aggressive treatment — even in people over 75 years old.

Because the latter findings were clinically counter intuitive, the TILDA team tested whether they held true outside of a trial setting. Focusing on people in Ireland over 75 years, they examined rates of falls, injuries, blackouts and excessive drops in standing blood pressure in those who met the criteria for the treatment proposed in SPRINT and were followed up with for 3½ years — the same time period as SPRINT.

The researchers reported starkly contrasting results — falls and blackouts were up to five times higher than reported in SPRINT and drops in blood pressure on standing were almost double that reported in SPRINT. Therefore, in people over 75 years, intensive lowering of blood pressure to 120mmHg could result in harm and TILDA researchers recommend that a better understanding of who, over 75 years, will or will not benefit, is necessary before widespread adaptation of the SPRINT results.

The TILDA team is now assessing how best to determine which people may benefit from SPRINT, and which people are more at risk from aggressive blood pressure lowering.

First author of the journal article, Research Fellow at TILDA, Dr Donal Sexton, said: “SPRINT was a landmark study of hypertension treatment. While the benefits of lowering blood pressure seen in this study are not in dispute, we are highlighting to physicians that we need to be cognisant of the fact that the trial was not powered for adverse events such as falls causing injury. Physicians ought not to expect a similarly low rate of adverse events in clinical practice as was observed in the trial when lowering blood pressure in older people. Overall what we are saying is that the risks and benefits of lowering blood pressure should be individualised for each patient. ”

Professor Rose Anne Kenny, founding Principal Investigator with TILDA and lead author of the journal article commented: “Our work and that of other groups has shown that low blood pressure and particularly drops in standing blood pressure are linked not only to falls, fractures and fall- and blackout-related injuries, but also to depression and possibly other brain health disorders.”

“These outcomes can seriously impact on independence and quality of life and we advise caution in applying the SPRINT recommendations to everyone over 75 years without detailed assessment of an individual’s risk versus possible benefit until such a time as we can provide more clarity re treatment.”

Source: Science Daily

Kidney Disease May Boost Risk of Abnormal Heartbeat

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . .

People with failing kidneys are at increased risk of developing a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm, a new report suggests.

Chronic kidney disease can as much as double a patient’s risk of atrial fibrillation, a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke or heart failure, said lead researcher Dr. Nisha Bansal. She is an associate professor of nephrology at the University of Washington’s Kidney Research Institute, in Seattle.

The risk of atrial fibrillation increases as kidney function declines, Bansal said.

“We saw the worse your kidney function, the greater your risk of developing atrial fibrillation. Even mild changes in kidney function were strongly linked to atrial fibrillation,” Bansal noted.

The study included data gathered from three separate research projects focused on heart health in the United States. The three projects created a combined pool of almost 17,000 patients with follow-up periods averaging between 8.5 years and 12.5 years. None of the participants had atrial fibrillation when first recruited.

Each project checked participants’ kidney function when they first joined the study, using one or two different lab tests. One was a blood test that evaluated how well the kidneys were removing toxins from the bloodstream. The other was a urine test that assessed whether the kidneys were properly filtering out a specific protein.

People with worse kidney function at the start of the study were more likely to have atrial fibrillation by the end, the researchers found. Those who did worse on the blood test were twice as likely to develop an abnormal heart rhythm, while those who did worse on the urine test were 76 percent more likely.

While the association doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship, the link remained even after the researchers took into account other risk factors for atrial fibrillation, such as diabetes, tobacco use and a history of heart problems.

“We found that kidney function was independent of all other risk factors,” Bansal said.

Research has not yet been conducted to explain the association between kidney function and atrial fibrillation, Bansal noted, but there are a number of possible explanations.

A poorly functioning kidney can alter blood levels of a number of nutrients needed to maintain proper heart function, such as potassium, vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, Bansal said.

The kidneys also are responsible for maintaining a steady volume of blood in your body, removing excess fluid by way of urination.

“If your kidney function is impaired, your blood volume increases,” Bansal said. “That increased stress on your heart causes it to stretch and can also trigger this abnormal heart rhythm.”

Dr. Kevin Chan, a nephrologist with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, noted that it’s also possible toxins that haven’t been filtered from the blood — thanks to a bad kidney — might have some as-yet-unknown effect on heart function.

Based on this report, doctors treating patients with kidney disease should keep an eye out for potential heart problems, said Chan, who was not involved with the new study.

“Physicians should be cognizant of this relationship so they are attuned to recognizing atrial fibrillation when they see their chronic kidney disease patients,” Chan said.

Doctors can reduce a person’s risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation by putting them on blood thinners, he added. Atrial fibrillation patients also can be fitted with a pacemaker, or undergo a procedure to restore proper heart rhythm.

People with kidney disease could help themselves by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, Bansal suggested, for example, eating right, exercising and quitting smoking.

“A heart-healthy lifestyle does improve your risk of all kinds of cardiovascular disease, as well as kidney disease, so I would recommend that,” Bansal advised.

The report was published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Source: HealthDay