Latest Update on E. coli Outbreak in North America Relating to Romaine Lettuce and Leafy Greens

Advice of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.) to consumers:

CDC is not recommending that U.S. residents avoid any particular food given the short shelf life of leafy greens and because a specific type of leafy greens has not been identified.

Read more at CDC . . . . .

People Who Sleep Less than 8 hours A Night More Likely to Suffer from Depression, Anxiety

Sleeping less than the recommended eight hours a night is associated with intrusive, repetitive thoughts like those seen in anxiety or depression, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Binghamton University Professor of Psychology Meredith Coles and former graduate student Jacob Nota assessed the timing and duration of sleep in individuals with moderate to high levels of repetitive negative thoughts (e.g., worry and rumination). The research participants were exposed to different pictures intended to trigger an emotional response, and researchers tracked their attention through their eye movements. The researchers discovered that regular sleep disruptions are associated with difficulty in shifting one’s attention away from negative information. This may mean that inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives .

“We found that people in this study have some tendencies to have thoughts get stuck in their heads, and their elevated negative thinking makes it difficult for them to disengage with the negative stimuli that we exposed them to,” said Coles. “While other people may be able to receive negative information and move on, the participants had trouble ignoring it.”

These negative thoughts are believed to leave people vulnerable to different types of psychological disorders, such as anxiety or depression, said Coles.

“We realized over time that this might be important — this repetitive negative thinking is relevant to several different disorders like anxiety, depression and many other things,” said Coles. “This is novel in that we’re exploring the overlap between sleep disruptions and the way they affect these basic processes that help in ignoring those obsessive negative thoughts.”

The researchers are further exploring this discovery, evaluating how the timing and duration of sleep may also contribute to the development or maintenance of psychological disorders. If their theories are correct, their research could potentially allow psychologists to treat anxiety and depression by shifting patients’ sleep cycles to a healthier time or making it more likely a patient will sleep when they get in bed.

The study was published in ScienceDirect.

Source: EurekAlert!

Baked Rice with Chicken and Cranberry-hoisin Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
8 chicken thighs with skin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 bunches scallions, sliced thin
2 cups jasmine rice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup fresh cranberries
3 cups fresh chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Choose a large ovenproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid and place the casserole over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, in batches if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and saute on all sides until lightly colored, about 8 minutes.
  3. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the garlic and scallions to the casserole and saute, stirring, for 1 minute.
  5. Add the rice and saute, stirring, for 1 minute.
  6. Add the hoisin sauce and saute for 30 seconds.
  7. Add the wine, deglaze, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by three quarters, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the cranberries and stock and season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the casserole and bring to a simmer.
  9. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook until the chicken is tender and the rice is cooked, 20 to 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for l0 minutes. Bring the pot to the table and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Simply Ming One-pot Meal

In Pictures: Bento with Sausage Flower

Eating More Foods with Choline During Pregnancy Could Boost Baby’s Brain

When expectant mothers consume sufficient amounts of the nutrient choline during pregnancy, their offspring gain enduring cognitive benefits, a new Cornell University study suggests.

Choline – found in egg yolks, lean red meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and cruciferous vegetables – has many functions, but this study focused on its role in prenatal brain development.

The researchers, who published their findings online in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, used a rigorous study design to show cognitive benefits in the offspring of pregnant women who daily consumed close to twice the currently recommended amount of choline during their last trimester.

“In animal models using rodents, there’s widespread agreement that supplementing the maternal diet with additional amounts of this single nutrient has lifelong benefits on offspring cognitive function,” said Marie Caudill, professor of nutritional sciences and the study’s first author. “Our study provides some evidence that a similar result is found in humans.”

The finding is important because choline is in high demand during pregnancy yet most women consume less than the recommended 450 milligrams per day.

“Part of that is due to current dietary trends and practices,” said Richard Canfield, a developmental psychologist in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the senior author of the study. “There are a lot of choline-rich foods that have a bad reputation these days,” he said. Eggs, for example, are high in cholesterol, and health professionals, including those in the government, have raised caution about pregnant women consuming undercooked eggs, which may deter women from eating them altogether, even though such risks are low for pasteurized or cooked eggs, Canfield said. Red meats are often avoided for their high saturated fat content, and liver is not commonly eaten, he added.

Two previous studies by other research teams had mixed results after examining cognitive effects of maternal choline supplementation, perhaps due to study designs that were not tightly controlled, Caudill said.

In this study, 26 women were randomly divided into two groups and all the women consumed exactly the same diet. Intake of choline and other nutrients were tightly controlled, which was important since the metabolism of choline and its functions can overlap with such nutrients as vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6.

“By ensuring that all the nutrients were provided in equal amounts, we could be confident that the differences in the infants resulted from their choline intake,” Caudill said. In this study, half the women received 480 mg/day of choline, slightly more than the adequate intake level, and the other half received 930 mg/day.

Canfield and co-author Laura Muscalu, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Ithaca College, tested infant information processing speed and visuospatial memory at 4, 7, 10 and 13 months of age. They timed how long each infant took to look toward an image on the periphery of a computer screen, a measure of the time it takes for a cue to produce a motor response. The test has been shown to correlate with IQ in childhood. Also, research by Canfield and others shows that infants who demonstrate fast processing speeds when young typically continue to be fast as they age.

While offspring in both groups showed cognitive benefits, information processing speeds were significantly faster for the group of expectant mothers who consumed 930 mg/day when compared with the group that took 480 mg/day over the same period.

Though the study has a small sample, it suggests that current recommendations for daily choline intake may not be enough to produce optimal cognitive abilities in offspring, Canfield said. Current choline intake recommendations are based on amounts required to prevent liver dysfunction, and were extrapolated from studies done in men in part because no studies had investigated requirements during pregnancy.

Source: Cornell University