Gadget: Spoon Holder and Steam Releaser

Agatha by Ototo Design

The dish-washer safe silicone holder is sold for 3,727 yen in Japan.

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Sausage, Mushroom and Spinach Strata

Ingredients

1 tsp butter, plus extra for greasing baking dish
3/4 lb Italian sausages (about 3), casing removed and roughly chopped
1 lb mixed wild mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
8 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
3 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach
4 large slices 1/2-inch thick day-old sourdough bread
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
dash hot pepper sauce
2 cups shredded old cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Butter a (13-by-9-inch) glass baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add sausage meat and fry, breaking up bits with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned and beginning to cook through. Spoon off any excess fat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown a little and sausage is no longer pink. Add onions and spinach and stir until everything is mixed and glossy. Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Layer bread slices over bottom of dish. Spoon sausage mixture over bread. In a blender, combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce and blend until smooth. Pour mixture evenly over sausage mixture. Top with cheese. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, heat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Uncover dish and bake strata for 50 to 60 minutes or until puffed and top is crispy and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada

In Pictures: Home-cooked Breakfasts for a Family of Four

Study: Drinking Caffeinated Soft Drinks While Exercising in Hot Weather May Increase the Risk of Kidney Disease

The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology — Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

A research team from the University at Buffalo in New York studied healthy adults in a laboratory environment that mimicked working at an agricultural site on a hot day (95 degrees Fahrenheit). The volunteers completed an hour-long exercise cycle consisting of a 30-minute treadmill workout followed by three different five-minute lifting, dexterity and sledgehammer swinging activities. After 45 minutes of exercise, the volunteers rested for 15 minutes in the same room while drinking 16 ounces of either a high-fructose, caffeinated soft drink or water. After the break, they repeated the cycle three more times for a total of four hours. Before leaving the laboratory, the volunteers were given more of their assigned beverage to drink before consuming any further fluids. The volume was either 1 liter or a volume equal to 115 percent of their body weight lost through sweating, if that amount was greater. The researchers measured the participants’ core body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, body weight and markers of kidney injury before, immediately after and 24 hours after each trial. All volunteers participated in both soft drink and water trials separated by at least seven days.

The research team found higher levels of creatinine in the blood and a lower glomerular filtration rate — markers for kidney injury — after the soft drink trial. These temporary changes did not occur when the participants drank water. In addition, the participants’ blood levels of vasopressin, an anti-diuretic hormone that raises blood pressure, was higher and they were mildly dehydrated during and after the soft drink trial. “The consumption of soft drinks during and following exercise in the heat does not rehydrate,” the researchers explained. “Thus, consuming soft drinks as a rehydration beverage during exercise in the heat may not be ideal. Further work will need to discern the long-term effects of soft drink consumption during exercise in the heat, and its relation to the risk of [kidney disease].”

Source: The American Physiological Society

Medicine for Cold May Affect People with High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease

Flu has so far infected more than 6 million Americans this season, and winter colds are making their rounds. If you’ve been hit by either, you may be thinking about heading to your local pharmacy to relieve your aches, pains and congestion.

But before you do, you need to consider how some over-the-counter cold medicines may impact your heart.

“People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid taking oral decongestants,” said Sondra DePalma, a physician assistant at the PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute at UPMC Pinnacle in Pennsylvania. “And for the general population or someone with low cardiovascular risk, they should use them with the guidance of a health care provider.”

DePalma co-authored guidelines released in 2017 by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology focusing on the management of high blood pressure in adults. Both decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), found in many cold medicines, were listed as medications that could increase blood pressure.

Decongestants — like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine — constrict blood vessels. They allow less fluid into your sinuses, “which dries you up,” said Dr. Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease in Baltimore.

“But if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, the last thing you need is constricting blood vessels,” she said. “It can exacerbate or worsen the condition.”

The biggest concerns are for people who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have heart failure or uncontrolled high blood pressure, Michos said.

But research on NSAIDs suggests seemingly healthy people might also be at risk.

A 2017 study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases looked at nearly 10,000 people with respiratory infections who were hospitalized for heart attacks. Participants were 72 years old on average at the time of their heart attacks and many had cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Researchers found that people who used NSAIDs while sick were more than three times as likely to have a heart attack within a week compared with the same time period about a year earlier when participants were neither sick nor taking an NSAID.

This may be due to the compound effect.

Merely having a cold or the flu strains the cardiovascular system. Fighting the illness raises the heart rate and causes inflammation. Meanwhile, NSAIDs — which carry a warning label about the increased risk for a heart attack or stroke — can cause problems by reducing the amount of sodium excreted through the urine, which increases fluid retention and raises blood pressure, DePalma said.

NSAIDs can be especially risky for people with heart disease or heart failure, Michos added. People who are sick should use both classes of medications — decongestants and NSAIDs — judiciously and understand the potential side effects.

For decongestants, blood pressure guidelines suggest using them for the shortest duration possible or using an alternative such as nasal saline or antihistamines to help with congestion. Decongestants shouldn’t be taken longer than seven days before consulting with a health care provider, DePalma said.

NSAIDs taken as pills should be avoided when possible to avoid affecting blood pressure, guidelines advise. Rather, topical NSAIDs and acetaminophen are recommended alternatives.

“There are effective therapies that are less risky and definitely should be tried first,” DePalma said. “If other over-the-counter medications are needed, use them cautiously. And if someone finds they are having problems like high blood pressure or other things like heart palpitations, they should talk with their health care provider.”

If symptoms are mild or moderate, rest and drink plenty of fluids, Michos said. Preventing dehydration should help reduce body aches, clear mucous and may reduce the need for decongestants.

To help avoid getting sick in the first place, Michos recommends frequent hand-washing and lots of sleep, especially during cold and flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, and the pneumonia vaccine for children under 2 and adults 65 and older.

Source: HealthDay


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