Avocado-Dark Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (sifted)
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 medium ripe avocado, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar substitute
1 cup fat-free milk or unsweetened almond or soy milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
cooking spray

Glaze

1/3 cup pure dark cacao (chopped)
1/2 medium ripe avocado, mashed (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons fat-free milk or unsweetened almond or soy milk

Topping

2 Tbsp pistachio nuts (chopped, unsalted)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/4 cup avocado into the cacao until very smooth. Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons milk.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon of glaze over the top of each doughnut. Sprinkle with the pistachios.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together 1/2 cup avocado and the egg until smooth. Add the sugar substitute. Beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
  6. Whisk in 1 cup milk, the oil, and vanilla until incorporated.
  7. Pour the avocado mixture into the flour mixture. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to stir in any of the dry mixture that remains on the sides or bottom of the bowl.
  8. Lightly spray a 12-cavity doughnut pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the wells, filling each three-fourths full (about 1/4 cup in each). Don’t cover the center hole.
  9. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let cool slightly.
  10. Place a large wire rack on a large baking sheet. Turn out the doughnuts onto the rack.
  11. In a small bowl, microwave the cacao on 100 percent power (high) for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave. Stir until fully melted. Add mashed avocado and milk. Mix well.
  12. Apply the glaze on top of the doughnuts and sprinkle chopped pistachio nuts on top before serving.

Makes 12 doughnuts.

Source: American Heart Association

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Study: Antibiotics Destroy Immune Cells and Worsen Oral Infection

New research shows that the body’s own microbes are effective in maintaining immune cells and killing certain oral infections.

A team of Case Western Reserve University researchers found that antibiotics actually kill the “good” bacteria keeping infection and inflammation at bay.

Scientists have long known that overuse of antibiotics can do more harm than good. For example, overuse can cause antibiotic resistance. But research into this phenomenon in oral health was uncharted territory.

Pushpa Pandiyan, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the School of Dental Medicine, led a team of researchers to examine “resident” bacteria, their fatty acids and their effect on certain types of white blood cells that combat infections in the mouth. Specifically, researchers looked at the “short-term maintenance” of Tregs and Th-17 cells in fighting fungal infections, such as Candida, in a laboratory setting.

They found that those natural defenses were very effective in reducing infection and unwanted inflammation—and antibiotics can prevent such natural defenses.

Their work was recently published in Frontiers in Microbiology.

“We set out to find out what happens when you don’t have bacteria to fight a fungal infection,” Pandiyan said. “What we found was that antibiotics can kill short-chain fatty acids produced by body’s own good bacteria.

“We have good bacteria doing good work every day, why kill them?” Pandiyan added. “As is the case with many infections, if you leave them alone, they will leave on their own.

“Of course, antibiotics are still needed for life threatening infections. No question about that. Our bodies have many natural defenses that we shouldn’t meddle with,” she said.

However, needless overuse of antibiotics is not helpful, she said.

“Also, we know there is a definite link between oral health and overall health,” she added.

Pandiyan said the study could have broader implications on protective effects of “resident microbiota” in other types of infections.

Source: Case Western Reserve University

More Doctors Say Men Should Think Twice about Prostate Cancer Screening

Lisa Rapaport wrote . . . . . . . . .

Most men shouldn’t get routine prostate cancer screening because the potential benefits are small and there are clear harms, an international panel of experts concludes.

Some men, including those with a family history of prostate cancer, may have a greater chance of benefit from screening and should discuss the pros and cons with their physician to make an informed decision, medical experts recommend in guidelines published in the BMJ.

“Most, but not all, well-informed men that fully understand the trade-offs would choose not to undergo screening,” said co-author of the guidelines Dr. Philipp Dahm of the University of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.

“Only those men who place more value in even a small reduction of prostate cancer mortality – these may be men at higher risk because of a family history or because of African descent, or those simply very concerned about ruling out a cancer diagnosis – may opt for screening,” Dahm said by email. “Shared decision-making is needed to help them arrive at a decision consistent with their own values and preferences.”

Most men with prostate cancer are diagnosed with low-risk tumors that haven’t spread to other parts of the body. Often, doctors and patients struggle to choose between active surveillance and treatments like surgery or radiation, because it’s hard to tell which tumors will grow fast enough to be life-threatening and which ones might never get big enough to cause problems.

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test is the only widely available test to screen for prostate cancer. It is used in many countries, but it remains controversial because it has increased the number of healthy men diagnosed with and treated unnecessarily for harmless tumors, the guidelines note.

In drafting the guidelines, experts reviewed research results from studies involving a total of more than 700,000 men. The studies showed that if screening reduces prostate cancer deaths at all, the effect is very small.

“PSA screening increases the number of men who need further diagnostic tests, such as prostate biopsy (approximately 100 per 1000 men screened), and it increases number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer (18 per 1000 men screened),” said lead author of the guidelines Dr. Kari Tikkinen of Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki in Finland.

“However, many of these men would not have ever experienced any symptoms of the prostate cancer if not diagnosed,” Tikkinen said by email.

Because of this, it’s reasonable for doctors to only bring up the possibility of screening with men who have an increased risk, the guidelines conclude. For most men, who don’t have an increased risk, it’s fine for doctors to skip this conversation altogether.

“Prostate cancer is extremely common in men in their 70s and older and most of these men will die `with their cancer’ rather than developing complications and dying of it, and small prostate cancers do not cause any symptoms,” said Dr. David Neal, co-author of an accompanying editorial and a professor at the University of Oxford in the U.K.

“Therefore, if you have a screening program which diagnoses many of these men with rather slow growing cancers then you make a `well person’ into a patient,” Neal said by email. “Then some of these men will also be offered radical treatments with radiotherapy and surgery and develop the complications of treatment, but because their tumors were low risk they get no benefit from radical treatments because they never needed it.”

Because most physicians already think this way about screening, the new guidelines are unlikely to change clinical practice, Neal added.

Source: Reuters


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