Video: Laksa Made by a Robot Chef

Singapore catering group Neo Group recently unveiled its latest innovation, where you can have a piping hot bowl of the yummy Singapore dish in just 45 seconds.

Watch video at You Tube (1:24 minutes) . . . . . . .

Beef and Porter Beer Stew

Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds beef stew meat or bottom round, cut into 1 -inch cubes
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce bottle) porter beer
2 cups low-sodium, store-bought beef broth, diluted with 2 cups water
bouquet garni of 2 bay leaves, 4 thyme sprigs, and 4 rosemary sprigs tied in a cheesecloth bundle
1/2 cup canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup carrots peeled and cut into small dice
1/2 cup celery cut into small dice
1 cup rutabaga (wax turnips), cut into small dice
1 cup parsnips cut into small dice

Method

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pot in a single, not-too-tightly-packed layer and brown the beef well on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the casserole and cook until golden and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the onion with the flour and stir to combine well.
  3. Return the beef to the casserole, pour in the porter and broth, and add the bouquet garni, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper.
  4. Add the carrots, celery, rutabaga, and parsnips. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and let simmer for 1 hour. Pick out and discard the bouquet garni.
  5. The stew can be made up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat gently before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Nightly Special

The Best Meats to Eat for a Healthy Life

As an average consumer, you probably have a vague awareness of the nutritional value of your meats – fish being better than red meat, for example. The issue can be complicated, because all meats have pros and cons, research can come up with conflicting results, and studies can surprise us. For example, research suggests that, in terms of cholesterol alone, eating white meat chicken is as bad for you as eating beef.

Still, there’s a generally agreed-upon hierarchy of nutritional value when it comes to meat, and small shifts in your diet might have greater effects than you realise. In a study of the Danish population, researchers found that Danes collectively could gain more than 7,000 years of healthy life annually if they ate the recommended quantity (340 grams per week) of fish while replacing red and processed meats in their diet.

“It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all healthier diet or meat per se,” says Dr Janese Laster, a nutrition specialist in Washington, the US capital. “There are differences in farming practices, so throughout the United States, each person is getting different risks and benefits from the meats.”

Keeping that in mind, here are some conclusions that can be made about different categories of meat.

A cut above: fish and poultry

Poultry and fish are considered the best meats you can load your diet with, Laster says. Fish is hailed for its omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect against cardiovascular disease. Fish is also rich in vitamin D, selenium and protein.

“A healthy diet would entail a great diversity of fish consumption, rather than the same fish every day, along with fish that is wild-caught rather than farmed,” Laster says. Because there’s some risk of ingesting “mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, microplastic due to our polluted water supply”, try to avoid species such as swordfish or king mackerel and opt for cod or salmon instead.

Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is also a great protein source, low in calories and saturated fat.

Keri Gans, registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet, used to recommend light meat over dark, but the fat difference is actually quite minimal. “Eat what you enjoy” is her new advice.

“That said, breast meat is typically leaner than thigh, and you should always look at how it’s prepared.” Chicken wings loaded in sauce are not the best option. Gans recommends baking and grilling, and a skinless, boneless cut of poultry to keep each serving the healthiest.

The American Heart Association recommends two to three servings of fish a week and eight to nine servings of super-lean protein, but Laster says that research indicates consuming just two to four servings per month of fish and two to four servings per month of poultry can provide benefits.

“There is data to suggest a very low quantity of meat in general for healthier disease-free living, around two to four servings per month,” Laster says. “But if poultry is consumed, it should be of the best farming practices, with free range, no antibiotics or hormones, and livestock being provided with proper food, along with uncontaminated slaughtering practices.”

Less is more: red meat

The pros of red meat – which includes beef, pork, lamb, veal, venison and duck – are its minerals. Red meat can be a great source of iron and also packs “vitamin B12, zinc and protein, all of which are important nutrients”, says Amy Patton, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Centre.

The cons, however, are notable. “According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, red meat intake can possibly promote certain cancers such as colorectal cancer,” Patton says. “Cooking red meat at high temperatures may also increase cancer risk, and red meats tend to be higher in saturated fats than other protein sources.” The saturated fat may, in turn, increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Processed meats you probably avoid altogether, or eat on very rare occasions. “Essentially, this is any meat that has been preserved or had a chemical added, like bacon, bologna, pepperoni, beef jerky, hot dogs, sausage and deli meats,” Laster says. There are other ways to get your protein fix without all the downsides. The World Health Organisation classifies processed meat as “carcinogenic to humans”.

When it comes to overall health, saturated fat should be limited as much as possible. Lamb typically has more saturated fat – which can raise your levels of bad cholesterol, putting you at higher risk of cardiovascular disease – than beef or pork.

T-bones, rib-eye and New York strip steak tend to be fattier forms of beef when compared to ground rounds, sirloin or flank steak. Pork is typically lowest in calories and saturated fat when compared with other red meats – as long as it isn’t processed into bacon or cured ham.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, you should not eat more than 12 to 18 ounces (340 to 510 grams) of red meat each week, or roughly three servings – but some experts suggest less is more.

“Many trials have shown decreased progression or reversal of chronic diseases, cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome, including diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, when you avoid processed red meats and greatly limit red meat consumption,” Laster says.

A recent study published in The BMJ showed that increased red meat consumption leads to a higher risk of mortality.

If you choose to consume red meat, keep it smart. “Select leaner cuts, and use more healthful cooking methods, such as baking or boiling rather than frying or grilling,” Patton says. Gans tells her clients that “round” or “loin” cuts are often leaner – think “pork tenderloin, loin chop” – when ordering off a menu or selecting at the store.

Other protein

Substituting even one serving per day of red or processed red meat with poultry, fish or legumes “significantly decreases” the risk of metabolic syndrome, Laster says. And do not forget those non-meat sources of protein. In addition to legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, almond milk, quinoa and chia can be part of a healthy dietary regimen.

If you’re thinking of a step-by-step way to improve your diet, Laster recommends “cutting back on red meat, and then limiting animal products to a few times per month”, rather than a few times per day, as typical in the American diet.

“There have been a few studies that have come out to show it’s what Americans are not eating daily – such as beans, grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits – that may account for some of the [unhealthy] effects we see in studies,” Laster says.

When it comes to meat in your diet, small adjustments can reap big rewards, Laster says. “These incremental changes will help with weight loss, improve diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and possibly help you get off medications.”

Choose healthily

Experts approached offered general guidance on which meats and cuts of meat are the best for you. Here’s what they say, listed from healthiest to least healthy:

Fish/seafood/shellfish

Wild Alaskan salmon, oysters and sardines are highest in healthy fats; white fish such as cod or flounder tend to be leaner.

Turkey

White meat has slightly less saturated fat than dark. Turkey is fairly comparable to chicken in nutrients, but both its dark and white meat are slightly leaner.

Chicken

White meat has slightly less saturated fat than dark; skinless, boneless breast is leanest.

Bison

Super-lean, lower in fat than other red meat.

Pork

Look for loin cuts like tenderloin or top loin, which are typically leaner.

Beef

Round or sirloin are leaner cuts; flank steak is typically pretty lean; T-bones, rib-eyes, New York strip steak are higher in saturated fats.

Lamb

Loin, shank and leg cuts are leanest; some cuts of lamb are slightly higher in calories than beef, but you can typically trim fat from the edges to make them leaner.

Processed meat

Bacon, hot dogs and sausage are all high in saturated fat and often made with chemicals considered carcinogenic to humans.

Source : SCMP

More Evidence Supplements Won’t Help the Heart

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you take supplements hoping to ward off a heart attack or stroke, yet another study suggests you could find better uses for your hard-earned dollars.

A review of 277 published studies found that most supplements won’t protect you from cardiovascular disease or early death.

“The study carries a simple message — do not waste your money,” said lead researcher Dr. Safi Khan.

“Americans spend billions of dollars on supplements and vitamins, but this study provides evidence that few of these supplements have a significant effect on mortality or cardiovascular outcomes,” said Khan, an assistant professor of medicine at West Virginia University.

If not supplements, what will help your heart?

“Instead of nutritional supplements, behavioral modifications — such as good nutrition from healthy food sources, exercise and smoking cessation — remain the main factors for improving cardiovascular health,” he said.

Khan’s team looked at 16 nutritional supplements and eight diets in studies that included nearly 1 million people in all.

The investigators did find some evidence that a low-salt diet reduced premature death among those with normal blood pressure, and that omega-3 fatty acids in food protected against heart attack and heart disease. Also, folic acid was somewhat protective against stroke, they reported.

However, calcium plus vitamin D, which many people take for stronger bones, increased the risk for stroke, the researchers found.

Multivitamins and other supplements — including selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D alone, calcium alone, folic acid and iron — did not have a significant effect on death or heart disease, according to the study.

Certain dietary interventions didn’t seem to make a big difference, either. The analysis found no proof that switching to the Mediterranean diet, reducing fats or saturated fats, or increasing fish oil supplements would keep heart disease or death from the door, the researchers said. (The Mediterranean diet centers around vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and beans.)

Despite the lack of evidence, one out of two Americans takes supplements hoping to improve their health, the researchers said.

Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., said, “Forget about supplements — you don’t improve heart outcomes at all.”

Topol, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial, added that taking supplements could cause unwanted side effects.

Supplements aren’t harmless, he said. “They have all sorts of impurities, and they’re not regulated. We shouldn’t just take for granted that they’re inert,” he noted.

Topol also said the notion that salt causes high blood pressure has no evidence to back it up. “The salt question is still shaky,” he said. “The data are not clear.”

In addition, what keeps one person healthy might not work for someone else, Topol said.

“The idea that there is a magic diet for all people — we have to get over that. It’s never going to be the case, because we’re all so unique,” Topol explained.

This study follows two other papers that also found no benefit from supplements in reducing chances of heart disease or death.

One study was published last July in the journal Circulation and the other came out in April in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the findings are to be expected.

“As surprising as these findings may be, there is no high-quality evidence to support the use of multivitamins, individual vitamins, mineral supplements or dietary interventions, including reduced dietary fat, reduced saturated fats, the Mediterranean diet or fish oil supplements for cardiovascular event reduction,” he said.

Fortunately, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and quitting smoking have been shown to reduce heart attacks, strokes and heart disease, Fonarow said.

A leading trade group for the dietary supplement industry objected to the study findings.

“This study is a coordinated, all-out assault on nutrition, and the critical role it plays in maintaining health and reducing the risk of chronic disease,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, in Washington, D.C.

The study authors ignore the “proper role” of supplements for overall health and wellness, Mister said in a statement released Monday. Consumers should talk to their health care practitioners about their dietary supplement use, he advised.

The report was published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source : HealthDay

Exercise Improves Anxiety And Mood In Older Adults Undergoing Chemotherapy

Although we know that exercise improves anxiety and mood problems in younger people with cancer, few studies have looked at the effects of exercise on older adults with cancer. Since most new cancer cases occur in adults aged 60 or older, a team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center and other institutions designed a study to learn more.

Their study appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS).

Having cancer increases the chances of people experiencing anxiety and mood issues, which can affect emotional and social well-being. In turn, this may lead people to discontinue cancer treatments—which can mean shortening their survival.

Chemotherapy can benefit older adults with cancer, even though older people receiving this type of treatment often experience higher rates of dangerous side effects than younger people do. Older adults often experience anxiety and other mood disorders during their treatment for cancer, too—and treating those problems with medications can often cause potentially dangerous side effects.

What’s more, many anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants are listed in the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria® as being potentially inappropriate for older adults. That’s why it is desirable to seek alternative treatments that are safe and effective at improving anxiety, mood disturbances, and emotional and social well-being, including treatments that don’t rely on medications. For example, several studies have been conducted to examine the relationship between exercise and mood in cancer survivors and most have shown positive results.

The researchers in the new JAGS study examined the Exercise for Cancer Patients (EXCAP) program, a home-based, low- to moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise program. In the study, those who were assigned to the EXCAP program received an exercise kit. It contained a pedometer, three exercise bands (medium, heavy, extra heavy), and an instruction manual.

During the program, participants increased the length and intensity of their workouts over time. For example, participants received an individually tailored, progressive walking routine, and they wore a pedometer and recorded their daily steps over six weeks, starting on their first day of chemotherapy treatment. They were encouraged to gradually increase their steps by five to 20 percent every week. For resistance exercise, they performed exercises with therapeutic exercise bands. Participants were given individually-tailored workout plans that encouraged them to perform 10 required exercises (such as squats and chest presses) and four optional exercises daily. Participants were also encouraged to increase the intensity and number of repetitions of resistance band exercises gradually over the course of the program.

The researchers concluded that a low- to moderate-intensity home-based exercise program improved anxiety, mood, and social and emotional well-being for older patients with cancer who received chemotherapy treatments.

The researchers also noted that in the study, the people who benefited the most from the exercise program were older adults who received chemotherapy and started off with worse anxiety, mood, and social and emotional well-being.

This summary is from “Effects of a home-based exercise program on anxiety and mood disturbances in older adults with cancer receiving chemotherapy.” It appears online ahead of print in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source: HealthinAging.org


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