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Hong Kong-Style Baked Pork Chops on Rice

Ingredients

2 thin slices of pork chops
3 garlic, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
all-purpose flour
2 tsp tomato paste
4 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 carrot, sliced
1/2 cup Japanese bbq sauce
2 bowls cooked rice
breadcrumbs and oil
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250°C.
  2. Heat wok and add 2 tbsp oil. Stir-fry rice with half of the beaten egg. Remove and line the bottom of a heat-proof deep dish.
  3. Marinate pork chops with salt and pepper for 15 minutes. Coat pork with plain flour and then the remaining beaten egg.
  4. Deep-fry pork chops in hot oil in the wok for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove, drain and cut into pieces. Place pork on top of the fried rice.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the wok, saute chopped garlic until fragrant. Stir in sliced button mushrooms and carrot. Add tomato paste and bbq sauce. Bring to a boil.
  6. Pour sauce on top of pork chops and rice. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
  7. Bake pork chops and rice in pre-heated oven for 7 minutes. Serve hot.

Source: CLP Power

Infographic: How to Measure Portion Sizes with Your Hands

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Source: eufic

Happiness Linked with Longer, Healthier Lives

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Happiness may truly be some of the best medicine available to us, a new study suggests.

People happy with themselves and their well-being tend to live longer and healthier lives than those who are perpetually down in the dumps, British researchers report.

Women in their 50s who reported enjoying their lives had a projected live expectancy of nearly 37 more years, compared with just 31 years in those who felt depressed and unhappy in their lives, according to researchers with University College London.

The same went for men in their 50s — guys who were happy had a life expectancy of 33 more years, compared with about 27 years for miserable men.

Happier men and women also tended to age more gracefully and enjoy more years free from disability or chronic disease, the investigators found.

The new study is “one of many that are pointing in the same general direction, that people who are happier and more optimistic and have a higher degree of life satisfaction, they tend to be healthier and they tend to live longer,” said James Maddux, a professor emeritus of clinical psychology with George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He had no role in the study.

The study results were published online in JAMA Network Open. For the study, the researchers analyzed survey data from nearly 9,800 participants in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. The information was collected between 2002 and 2013, and average age was 64.

The team specifically looked at each participant’s report of “subjective well-being” — essentially, how much they are enjoying their life and how they feel about their own health and mood.

Nancy Mramor, a psychologist in Pittsburgh who specializes in health, stress and wellness, said, “It’s the perception of how well you are, not the actual fact of how well you are.” Mramor wasn’t involved in the study.

The researchers then tracked participants to see how well their sense of their own well-being jibed with their actual health.

People with a more positive outlook not only tacked more years onto their life, they also tended to enjoy better health, the results showed.

For example, 50-year-old men completely happy with their lives could expect to live nearly 30 more years free from disability and 21 years free from chronic disease. That compared with 20 and 11 years, respectively, for depressed men who aren’t enjoying life.

Women at age 50 who enjoy life can expect to live more than 31 years free from disability and 22 years free from chronic disease, compared with about 21 years and 12 years for those who are unhappy and depressed.

The health advantage associated with a positive outlook persisted as folks grew older. At ages 60, 70 and 80, those with a high enjoyment of life and no depression lived longer and healthier than those who didn’t.

There’s no clear explanation yet for why this association between happiness and health exists, the experts said. And the study does not prove cause and effect.

One possibility is that a constant state of unhappiness produces a lot of stress, Mramor said.

“Automatic negative thoughts create a stress response in the nervous system, which creates wear and tear on the body,” Mramor said. “When you’re thinking I’m in great health, even when you’re not, you’re sending all these positive signals to the body. There’s evidence that freedom from stress takes a heavy burden off your body.”

It’s also possible that folks who are happier just tend to lead healthier lives, Maddux said.

“Happier people have something to live for,” Maddux said. “They like their lives, and so they tend to take care of themselves more than people who are miserable.”

People can change their outlook on life if they want, Mramor and Maddux agreed.

Mramor said, “You can definitely retrain your thinking. But you have to recognize there’s a need for it, and you have to have a desire to do it.”

Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy can help adults adjust the way they view their lives and respond to stress, Maddux said.

It’s even better if, as children, we are taught how to manage our stress and focus on the pleasures in life, Mramor said.

“It’s much harder to change long-held negative or pessimistic beliefs than it is to train positive ones in the first place,” said Mramor, who teaches stress management techniques to children. “The younger you start, the quicker they learn and the more deeply those patterns of thought become embedded. It can take six months in adults what I can accomplish with children in six weeks.”

However, there’s no guarantee that changing your outlook will lengthen your healthy life span. Maddux noted that genetics also plays a strong role in whether you are upbeat or downcast.

“It could be the same genetic ingredients that produce people who are generally happy and optimistic and upbeat also maybe programs their bodies to live longer and healthier,” Maddux said.

Source: HealthDay

What Does Telomere Testing Tell You about Aging and Disease Risk?

Patricia Opresko and Elise Fouquerel wrote . . . . . . . . .

Over the past few years direct-to-consumer genetic tests that extract information from DNA in your chromosomes have become popular. Through a simple cheek swab, saliva collection or finger prick, companies offer the possibility of learning more about your family tree, ancestry, or risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s or even certain cancers. More recently, some companies offer tests to measure the tips of chromosomes, called telomeres, to learn more about aging.

But what exactly are telomeres, what are telomere tests, and what are companies claiming they can tell you? Age based on your birthday versus your “telomere age”?

Telomeres play a big role in keeping our chromosomes and bodies healthy even though they make up only a tiny fraction of our total DNA. The Greek origins of the word telomere describes where to find them. “Telo” means “end” while “mere” means “part.” Telomeres cap both ends of all 46 chromosomes in each cell, and protect chromosomes from losing genetic material. They are often compared to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces that prevent fraying.

We are molecular biologists studying how chemicals, agents from the environment and metabolism damage telomeres and affect their lengths and function, and how damaged telomeres affect the health of our cells and genome. The idea of offering telomere length as part of a genetic test is intriguing since telomeres protect our genetic material. But equating telomere length with something as complex as aging struck us as tricky and overly simplistic.

Link between telomere length and human diseases

Telomeres are important for human health and despite their protective function, they are not indestructible. Telomeres shorten every time a cell divides and shorten progressively as we age.

When telomeres become too short or lost, the chromosome tips are left unprotected and become sticky. This can cause chromosomes to fuse. To prevent further chromosome shortening and fusions, the cells enter senescence, a state in which they can no longer divide. Although they lose the ability to rejuvenate tissues, senescent cells can still promote inflammation and secrete factors that favor growth of nearby pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.

Unfortunately, our lifestyle can actually accelerate the shortening. Environmental exposures such as sunlight, air pollution, cigarette smoke and even inflammation or poor diet can damage cell components, including DNA. They do this by generating unstable oxygen molecules, or free radicals. Telomeres are particularly susceptible to damage by free radicals.

In collaboration with chemist Marcel Bruchez, we developed a new tool that damages only the telomeres. Using this tool we discovered that oxidative damage to telomeres is sufficient to not only accelerate their shortening but also to cause telomere loss.

In previous laboratory experiments, scientists found that eliminating senescent cells from mice led to the delay or prevention of diseases and conditions associated with aging including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and lung fibrosis. This has led to the pursuit of new drugs called senolytics that could eliminate senescent cells in humans.

Is longer better?

Since short telomeres cause cells to senesce, this makes them interesting targets for healthy, disease-free aging. Also, since telomeres shorten with age, regardless of exposure to toxins this led to the notion that telomere length may provide information about a person’s “true” biological age.

Commercial tests typically measure telomere lengths or amounts of telomeric DNA in a blood sample. Companies compare your telomeres to telomeres from people of similar age to try to determine the biological age of your blood cells.

However, just as individuals of the same age vary in height and weight, so do telomeres. If a child falls in the 40th percentile for height, this means compared to 100 girls her age she is taller than 40. For this reason, charts similar to growth charts for children have been generated for telomeres.

Individuals with telomere lengths below the first percentile are at risk for developing specific diseases including anemia, immunodeficiency and pulmonary fibrosis, likely due to a gene mutation that impairs telomere maintenance

At the other extreme, individuals with gene mutations that lead to very long telomeres above the 99th percentile are at greater risk for developing inherited forms of melanoma and brain cancers. Longer telomeres allow a cell to divide more times, and with every division there is a chance that an error during genome duplication produces a mutation that promotes cancer. In a way, telomeres follow the Goldilock’ principle. Telomeres that are too short or too long are not optimal.

Can telomere length predict health outcomes?

But what about telomere lengths in between the extremes? Large studies involving hundreds to thousands of participants show general associations of shorter telomeres with increased risk for some diseases of aging, including heart disease, whereas longer telomeres are associated with increased risk for some types of cancers.

But translating these population studies to predictions about individual life spans and health is difficult. For example, as a group, men are taller than women, but that does not mean all men are taller than women. Similarly, some people with shorter telomeres do not develop heart disease in these population studies. More studies are needed to fully understand what an individual’s telomere length means for their health and aging.

While large population studies show a healthy diet is associated with longer telomeres, published reports about specific supplements that claim to support telomere health are lacking.

If such a product could extend telomeres, would it be safe? Or would it increase one’s risk for developing cancer due to long telomeres? Can protecting telomeres or slowing their shortening promote disease-free aging? We do not have the answers to these questions yet.

Given the uncertainty and risk of wrong interpretation, should you have your telomeres measured? Maybe, if the results motivate healthy lifestyle changes. For now, a surer bet for healthy aging would be to spend the money on exercise programs and nutritious foods instead.

Source : The Conversation


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