Pilates for Older Women

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Thai-style Grilled Chicken


1 whole free-range chicken (about 1.8 kg) or 2 kg chicken wings
1 tbsp black peppercorns
leaves, roots and stems from 2 coriander roots, roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
sweet chilli sauce (store-bought), to serve


  1. Halve the chickens with a cleaver through the backbone and breast cartilage.
  2. In a mortar pound the peppercorns, coriander and lemongrass together to a rough paste. Mix the paste with the brown sugar, fish sauce and coconut milk then rub this loose paste all over the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
  3. Barbecue method: Grill the chicken on a low barbecue, turning frequently for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Rest in a warm, draught-free place for 15 minutes before serving.
  4. Oven method: Heat the oven to 200°C (convection). Place the chicken halves on a baking tray with the skin facing up and bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and caramelised. Rest in a warm, draught-free place for 15 minutes before serving. Grill under the overhead grill for a further 10 minutes if the chicken needs a little more colour.
  5. Serve the chicken with sweet chilli sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adam’s Big Pot

In Pictures: Foods of Angler in London, U.K.

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As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops Are Losing Nutrients

Merrit Kennedy wrote . . . . . . .

Plants need carbon dioxide to live, but its effects on them are complicated.

As the level of carbon dioxide in the air continues to rise because of human activity, scientists are trying to pin down how the plants we eat are being affected.

Mounting evidence suggests that many key plants lose nutritional value at higher CO2 levels, and scientists are running experiments all over the world to try to tease out the effects.

Rows of controlled chambers that look kind of like industrial refrigerators are testing how plants react to different levels of CO2 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory outside of Washington, D.C.

On a recent afternoon, Lewis Ziska, who’s a plant physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, demonstrates an experiment there with a crop important to many of us — coffee.

The chamber is really bright to mimic the sun. A few neat rows of green coffee plants are growing. The air that they’re absorbing has about the same amount of CO2 as in the preindustrial age, about 250 years ago.

Across the hall, we can see a possible glimpse of the plant’s future. Here, there’s a chamber with plants growing at CO2 levels projected for the end of this century.

“Some of the varieties, you ought to see that they’re bigger,” says Ziska. They’ve all been growing for the same amount of time, but the high CO2 coffee plants are larger. The extra CO2 seems to be making them grow faster.

Scientists have noticed that in many kinds of plants, higher CO2 produces bigger crops. That sounds like a good thing.

But there’s a problem. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. And while they’re still testing what this means for coffee’s quality, scientists have seen that other crops have lost some of their nutritional value under higher CO2 conditions.

One example is rice, a primary food source for more than 2 billion people.

Ziska recently teamed up with an international group of scientists to study whether high CO2 had an effect on the rice’s nutrition. “Was it changing not just how the plant grew, but the quality of the plant?” he asked.

They tested how 18 different kinds of rice responded to CO2 levels that are projected by the end of the century, based on conservative estimates, Ziska says.

The technique they used, called free-air CO2 enrichment, allowed them to grow the rice and add CO2 to the air immediately surrounding the plants using a big hoop in the middle of a field, Ziska explains. They did this over multiple years in facilities in Japan and China.

And the effect was clear: Higher CO2 reduced multiple key measures of rice’s nutritional value. Across the different types of rice, they observed average decreases of 10 percent in protein, 8 percent in iron and 5 percent in zinc. Four important B vitamins decreased between 13 and 30 percent. The research was recently published in Science Advances.

Higher carbon dioxide is not just affecting rice. There’s evidence that the scope of this is much bigger. Harvard’s Sam Myers, who studies the impact of climate change on nutrition, has tested CO2’s impact on the protein, iron and zinc of a number of staple crops using the same free-air CO2 enrichment technique.

“Most of the food crops that we consume showed these nutrient reductions,” Myers says.

The effects varied somewhat — he says wheat showed declines in protein, iron and zinc, and soybeans and field peas showed declines in iron and zinc. Maize and sorghum were less affected.

These studies are enough to raise concerns about the impact on human health, he says.

“Under what circumstances would this be a big problem?” Most likely, he says, it would be in situations where someone is “living relatively near a threshold of nutrient insufficiencies, so you’re just barely getting enough of that particular nutrient.” And secondly, it would more harmful when that person gets a meaningful amount of a nutrient from the crop that’s losing nutritional value.

“There’s quite high global vulnerability to these effects, and we’re likely to see really significant health impacts from these nutrient changes,” he adds.

At the same time, the exact health effects of this are still unclear, says Naomi Fukagawa, the director of the USDA’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, who was part of the team researching rice. She says it’s hard to know how a person’s health will be affected by changes to the nutritional quality of a specific food in a mixed diet. “We don’t quite have all the answers yet,” she says.

But if this is indeed found to negatively impact people’s health, she says, “what we need to then know, is what else do we have that’s part of their diet that’s culturally sensitive that can make up for those differences?”

Scientists also don’t understand what it is about higher CO2 that causes plants to become less nutritious, Ziska says, though they have some theories.

“We don’t have one simple explanation as to what might be happening,” he says. One possibility is that it could be a simple dilution effect – “as the plants grow more, they become carbon-rich but nutrient-poor.”

However, Myers notes that if this were the cause, all of the nutrients would be decreasing at approximately the same rate. And that’s not necessarily the case. For example, with the recent rice study, most of the minerals and vitamins tested went down, but vitamin E went up.

Another theory, Ziska says, is that the rising carbon dioxide levels change how water moves through the plant, which could also affect some of the nutrients.

“There’s a lot about this that we don’t understand yet,” he says. “And the need to understand this in terms of the potential implications for food quality, and of course for human health, are imperative.”

Source: npr

Accurate Measurements of Sodium Intake Confirm Relationship with Mortality

Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, but a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and their colleagues using multiple measurements confirms it. The study suggests that an inaccurate way of estimating sodium intake may help account for the paradoxical findings of others.

“Sodium is notoriously hard to measure,” said Nancy Cook, ScD, a biostatistician in the Department of Medicine at BWH. “Sodium is hidden – you often don’t know how much of it you’re eating, which makes it hard to estimate how much a person has consumed from a dietary questionnaire. Sodium excretions are the best measure, but there are many ways of collecting those. In our work, we used multiple measures to get a more accurate picture.”

Sodium intake can be measured using a spot test to determine how much salt has been excreted in a person’s urine sample. However, sodium levels in urine can fluctuate throughout the day so an accurate measure of a person’s sodium intake on a given day requires a full 24-hour sample. In addition, sodium consumption may change from day to day, meaning that the best way to get a full picture of sodium intake is to take samples on multiple days.

While previous studies have used spot samples and the Kawasaki formula, the team assessed sodium intake in multiple ways, including estimates based on that formula as well as ones based on the gold-standard method, which uses the average of multiple, non-consecutive urine samples. They assessed results for participants in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, which included nearly 3,000 individuals with pre-hypertension.

The gold-standard method showed a direct linear relationship between increased sodium intake and increased risk of death. The team found that the Kawasaki formula suggested a J-shaped curve, which would imply that both low levels and high levels of sodium consumption were associated with increased mortality.

“Our findings indicate that inaccurate measurement of sodium intake could be an important contributor to the paradoxical J-shaped findings reported in some cohort studies. Epidemiological studies should not associate health outcomes with unreliable estimates of sodium intake,” the authors wrote.

Source: EurekAlert!

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