Character Sugar

Shima Enaga, a species of bird living in Hokkaido, Japan

The price for a set of three birds is 864 yen (tax included).

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Baked Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients

6 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
1 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Additional minced fresh parsley, optional

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut each zucchini lengthwise in half. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Chop pulp.
  2. Place zucchini shells in a large microwave-safe dish. In batches, microwave, covered, on high 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
  3. In a large skillet, cook sausage and zucchini pulp over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, breaking sausage into crumbles.
  4. Stir in tomatoes, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs and pepper. Spoon into zucchini shells.
  5. Place in two ungreased 13×9-inch baking dishes. Bake, covered, 15-20 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
  6. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5-8 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. If desired, sprinkle with additional minced parsley before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Taste of Home magazine

The Benefits of Running vs. Walking

Sally Wadyka wrote . . . . . . .

Running and walking are both excellent forms of exercise. Those who regularly do either typically have healthier hearts, stronger bones, and lower body weights than their sedentary counterparts.

The current Physical Activity Guidelines, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, call for a minimum of 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity.

So does it matter whether you get those minutes walking or running? Arguments can made for both—and which is right for you depends on your goals and your current fitness level.

If You Want to Maximize Calorie Burning

“The key difference between running and walking is how many calories you are burning—not per mile, but per minute of exercise,” says Paul D. Thompson, M.D., chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital and and a professor of medicine and preventive cardiology at the University of Connecticut.

For a 160-pound person, walking at a brisk, 3.5-mph pace for 30 minutes will burn about 156 calories. But running at a 6-mph pace for that same 30 minutes will burn more than double the calories (about 356).

“Running is a less efficient movement, and it’s more demanding on the body, so it burns more calories per minute,” says Thompson. “But if you’ve got the time to walk long enough to burn the equivalent calories, then walking is fine.”

That said, if your ultimate goal is to lose weight, chances are neither running nor walking alone is going to do the trick. “Exercise on its own is not the best way to lose weight,” says Thompson. “Research has shown that it needs to be done along with calorie restriction.”

If You Want to Improve Heart Health

Running makes the heart work harder than walking, so it stands to reason that it would also make it healthier. But the answer again may come down to how much time you have.

In a 2013 study that analyzed data from the nearly 50,000 people involved in the National Runners’ Health Study II and National Walkers’ Health Study, researchers found that runners’ risk of cardiovascular disease was 4.5 percent lower than those who were inactive.

But walkers who expended the same amount of energy as runners daily—burned the same amount of calories—had a risk level that was 9 percent lower than those who were inactive.

If You Want to Reduce Belly Fat

You can help decrease how much fat you store in your middle if you pick up the pace by interspersing some stretches of all-out sprinting with your jog or walk.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)—a workout in which you alternate short bursts of activity at close to your peak heart rate with easier bouts—can help eat away at belly fat. A 2018 analysis of 39 studies, published in the journal Sports Medicine, concluded that HIIT reduced what’s called visceral fat by 1.8 percent.

This is important because visceral fat is located deep in the abdominal cavity, surrounding organs such as the liver and pancreas. That means the fat can trigger a variety of metabolic changes, including increased insulin resistance and higher triglyceride levels.

“Reducing visceral fat, even without losing weight, can improve overall health,” says Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., a professor of biobehavioral studies at Columbia University Teachers College. (Garber was not involved in the 2018 study.)

HIIT is also a great way to ease yourself into a running regimen, says Garber.

“Running is often a big step up in intensity from walking, so it’s best to add it into your routine gradually,” she says. “By alternating higher intensity intervals of running with lower-intensity walking intervals you’ll reap the benefits without putting excessive stress on your body.”

If You’re Worried About Your Joints

Runners pound the pavement, but running doesn’t necessarily lead to more arthritis than walking, according to recent research.

In a study published in 2017 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, almost 59 percent of non-runners had osteoarthritis in their knees compared with 53 percent of the runners; for the group that reported running the most, the prevalence dropped to about 51 percent.

Another study, published in 2013, that analyzed data from the National Runners’ Health Study found that those who ran more than 1.2 miles per day had a 15 percent lower risk of osteoarthritis and a 35 percent lower risk of hip replacement than those who were less active.

The researchers theorize that one of the reasons for fewer joint issues among the runners is that, as a whole, the runners had lower body mass indexes (BMI) than the walkers. Lower weight means less stress on the joints—even during a high-impact activity like running.

“Running gets the reputation for causing injuries because many people who are just starting to run try to do too much too quickly,” Garber says. “And they often get injured as a result.”

If you want to progress from walking to running, do it slowly, gradually increasing your speed, distance, and the frequency of your runs.

So Should You Walk or Run?

Running may be more high-intensity and calorie-burning than walking, but walking is a great way to ease into exercise—no matter what your current health status—and make sure you’re staying physically active every day.

The bottom line is that getting exercise of any kind is beneficial—provided you stick with it.

“The best exercise is the one you are going to do,” says Thompson. “There are additional benefits to be gained from running, but what’s most important from a public health point of view is that everyone gets out and does some kind of exercise.”

Source: Consumer Reports

Sniffing Out Real Truffles

At a cost of thousands of dollars per pound, truffles are an expensive food. The fungi are prized for their distinctive aroma, and many foods claim truffles or their aromas as ingredients. But some of these foods may actually contain a much less pricey synthetic truffle compound. To help detect food fraud, researchers report in Analytical Chemistrythat they have developed a technique that discriminates between these natural and synthetic compounds.

White truffles (Tuber magnatum Pico) are the most valuable species of the fungus, and researchers have previously identified bis(methylthio)methane as the key compound responsible for white truffle aroma. Synthetic bis(methylthio)methane, produced from petrochemicals, has been approved by the World Health Organization as a food additive, yet some foods made with this cheaper compound may still command a premium price if consumers believe that they contain authentic white truffles. Current methods cannot reliably discriminate between natural and synthetic bis(methylthio)methane. To help fight food fraud, Luigi Mondello and colleagues wanted to develop a new approach.

The researchers exploited the differences in carbon isotope ratios between plant- and petroleum-derived versions of bis(methylthio)methane. After optimizing the technique of multidimensional gas chromatography coupled to combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry, they used the method to compare the carbon isotope ratios of bis(methylthio)methane from 24 genuine white truffles harvested at different locations in Italy, two commercial intact truffles and 14 commercial samples of foods flavored with truffles or truffle aroma. The approach could clearly discriminate foods that contained synthetic truffle aroma or a mixture of synthetic and natural aromas, and it could distinguish among products containing white truffle and those containing other species of the fungus. The researchers conclude that the improved technique can help validate foods that claim to contain truffles or natural truffle aroma.

Source: American Chemical Society

Can a Daily Cup of Tea Do a Heart Good?

The latest study on the coffee alternative suggests at least a cup a day may help your body cling to heart-helping “good cholesterol” as you age.

Previous research has suggested more tea may significantly lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by reducing low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in arteries.

What’s uncertain is tea’s effect on high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, the healthy cholesterol that helps eliminate LDL. Some studies found that tea significantly increased HDL, while others found no consequence at all.

But tea appears to slow the natural decrease in HDL that occurs during aging, according to the new study published June 25 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study monitored more than 80,000 people from the Kailuan community of Tangshan, China, over a six-year period. It found regular tea drinkers had a slower age-related decrease in HDL levels. That decline was linked to an eventual 8 percent decrease in cardiovascular risk among those in the study.

Green tea had a slightly stronger effect than black tea, but both are full of polyphenols and catechins, two antioxidant compounds recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers did not collect data on coffee, which is not popular in that area of China.

The link between greater tea consumption and slower HDL decreases appeared most pronounced in men and in people age 60 and older who typically had higher heart disease risk factors such as tobacco use, larger body mass index and low physical activity levels.

“We still observed a significant association in these people, which suggests that the observed association cannot be totally interpreted by someone’s overall healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Xiang Gao, the senior author of the study’s report and director of the Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Pennsylvania State University.

There were several limitations to the study, though.

For example, the findings were based on self-reported information about weekly or monthly tea consumption and did not reflect whether people drank more than one cup a day. The study also lacked key dietary information, including details about intake of fruits, vegetables, meat and whole grains.

In addition, the study examined people from a specific community in China that isn’t representative of the nation’s population at large.

“However, the results represent a large cohort of individuals living in China who have a wide range of tea intakes and a low intake of coffee,” the study’s authors noted.

Getting a similar sampling of tea drinkers elsewhere would be difficult, said Judith Wylie-Rosett, a professor and division head for health promotion and nutrition research in the department of epidemiology and population health department at New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Wylie-Rosett, who wasn’t associated with the study, credited it for taking “a cautious approach to endorsing the benefits” of tea consumption, as well as examining the impact on HDL levels.

“We don’t tend to talk much about the decline in HDL cholesterol with age, and our main lifestyle strategies for trying to increase it are vigorous physical activity and losing weight,” she said.

Overall, Wylie-Rosett described the study as “one of those nice stories that people who drink tea feel good about, but it doesn’t really change a whole lot of anything other than help researchers think about the next study they need to do.”

Because of inconclusive results in tea studies, neither the American Heart Association nor the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans make recommendations about how much of the beverage to consume.

Source: HealthDay


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