Summer Parfait of Shiseido Parlour in Ginza, Japan

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Tuna Steak with Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce

Ingredients

4 tuna steaks, weighing about 6 ounces each
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons grated cucumber
4 ounces green seedless grapes, chopped
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
salad greens, to serve
cherry tomatoes, halved, to serve

Method

  1. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice, cucumber, and grapes in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix the butter and lemon juice together. Brush the tuna steaks with this mixture.
  3. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the tuna steaks and grill until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.
  5. Transfer the tuna to serving plates. Top with yogurt and cucumber sauce and garnish with the salad greens and tomatoes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

What Is a Pegan Diet

Maija Kappler wrote . . . . . . . . .

What’s this diet all about?

It’s not paleo (a meat and vegetable-heavy diet that’s meant to replicate what cavemen ate) and it’s definitely not vegan (since vegans, generally, do not eat meat). The pegan diet essentially involves eating low-carb, dairy-free, gluten-free food, with only very small portions of meat.

Here are basics:

  • 75 per cent of your diet is made up of fruit and vegetables (largely fresh and minimally processed, preferably non-starchy)
  • The remaining 25 per cent is made of protein (mostly from nuts and seeds, as well as small portions of beans, legumes and of grass-fed meat)

And here the additional rules:

  • Avoid all dairy
  • Avoid all gluten
  • Acceptable fat sources include fatty fish, flaxseed, nuts, avocados, and oil (although not corn, soybean or canola oil)
  • Eat only very small amounts of gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats and amaranth
  • Avoid chemicals, additives, pesticides, preservatives, and artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners

What do the experts say?

Sure, there are some good parts of the pegan lifestyle — but it’s far too restrictive to actually be healthy or realistic, said Nadine Moukheiber, a registered dietitian who runs NutriSkulpt in Montreal.

“We tend to stay away from anything that’s called a diet,” she told HuffPost Canada in a phone interview. The healthiest approach to nutrition is balance and variety, she says, and the “very rigid” pegan diet doesn’t provide a very good framework for long-term health.

And as diets go, Moukheiber said this one is particularly restrictive. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to cut out dairy and gluten, but she stresses that that doesn’t serve any nutritional purpose.

“Dairy products have gotten a really bad rap in the last year or two, and I don’t think it’s justified,” she said. “Many people link both gluten and dairy to bloating, but there’s no scientific basis to that.”

She added that there seems to be a misunderstanding about what gluten actually is — it’s not something that’s unhealthy.

It turns out gluten, carbs and natural sugars aren’t the enemy

“Gluten is a protein, so there’s nothing bad about it,” she said. “A lot of grains that contain gluten are very good for you.” Many people who report health benefits from cutting out gluten are likely feeling healthy because they’re trying out new grains, and adding more variety to their diet — gluten itself is not the enemy,” she said.

Carbohydrates are also unfairly vilified, she said. Yes, cutting down on carbs may cause weight loss, but it’s almost always short-term and it might be detrimental in other ways.

“When carbs get stored in your body, they store water at the same time,” Moukheiber explained. “When you stop eating carbs, you’ll lose water weight but that also means you’ll lose the water that’s supposed to hydrate your cells and muscles. It doesn’t really make sense, nutrition-wise.”

Same with natural sugar: it’s something your body actually needs.

“We use up more than 50 per cent of the [unrefined] sugars we eat just with our brain activity throughout the day,” she said. “If we’re not getting these sugars, imagine how [hard it is] for your brain to get through the day.”

Health means more fruit, fewer restrictions

There are some positive aspects to the “pegan” diet, but many of the beneficial elements are also brought to a restrictive extreme.

“What’s good is that it encourages the intake of fruits and vegetables,” said Moukheiber.

But drawing distinctions between “starchy” and “non-starchy” vegetables is unnecessary.

“You don’t want to have fruits and vegetables labeled as ‘bad,'” she said. “As long as they’re fresh or local or in season, any fruits or vegetables are perfectly fine.”

Cutting down on meat is also a good idea, “not because meat is bad or animal-derived products are bad, just because in North America we tend to eat too much of those,” said Moukheiber.

There are lots of healthy ways to reduce or cut out meat consumption — carnivores can eat red meat once a week, and then swap it out with poultry or fish. And everyone can benefit from eating soy products such as tofu and tempeh, as well as lentils and legumes, or protein sources such as eggs or cheese. As always, variety and balance is key.

Avoiding additives when possible is also a good guideline, said Moukheiber.

Overall, Moukheiber wants people to know that any fad diet is probably a scam.

“It’s pretty much something that kicks off every new year,” she said.

Food is something you need to survive and something that you consume every day — ideally, it’s something you’ll be able to enjoy and benefit from, not a joyless list of limitations.

“If your list of no’s become longer than your list of yes’s, that’s what you want to avoid,” Moukheiber said.

Source: Huffington Post

Increase Bone Density Naturally

Jenna Fletcher wrote . . . . . . . . .

Bone density is important to a person’s overall health. If the bones lose density, they may break easily.

Bone density changes over time. Throughout childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, the bones absorb nutrients and minerals, gaining strength.

However, as a person enters their late 20s, they have reached their peak bone mass, which means that they will no longer gain bone density.

The bones may lose density as a person continues to age. After menopause, in particular, a person becomes susceptible to osteoporosis, a disease that can weaken the bones so much that they can break easily.

However, there are many ways to help boost and maintain bone density. Keep reading for tips on increasing bone density naturally.

1. Weightlifting and strength training

Studies have shown that both weightlifting and strength training help promote new bone growth and maintain the existing bone structure.

For example, a study on bone density in children with type 1 diabetes showed that participating in weight bearing physical activity during peak bone-growth years improves bone density. Another study in children showed similar results.

Benefits of weight and strength training include:

  • increased bone mineral density
  • increased bone size
  • reduced inflammation
  • protection against bone loss
  • increased muscle mass

2. Eating more vegetables

Vegetables are low in calories and provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. One study showed that vitamin C may help protect bones from damage.

Eating yellow and green vegetables can benefit most people. In children, these vegetables help promote bone growth; in adults, they help maintain bone density and strength. One study showed that children who ate green and yellow vegetables and few fried foods saw an increase in healthful fat and bone density.

In another study, postmenopausal participants who ate 9 servings of cabbage, broccoli, and other vegetables and herbs for 3 months saw reduced bone turnover and calcium loss. The researchers attributed the results to the boost in polyphenols and potassium that the vegetables provided.

3. Consuming calcium throughout the day

Calcium is the primary nutrient for bone health. As the bones break down and grow each day, it is essential that people get enough calcium in their diets.

The best way to absorb calcium is to consume small amounts throughout the day, rather than eating one high-calcium meal per day.

It is best to get calcium through the diet, unless a doctor advises otherwise. Foods rich in calcium include:

  • milk
  • cheese
  • yogurt
  • some leafy greens, such as kale
  • beans
  • sardines

4. Eating foods rich in vitamins D and K

Vitamin K-2 plays an essential role in bone health by reducing calcium loss and helping minerals bind to the bones.

Foods that contain vitamin K-2 include:

  • sauerkraut
  • cheese
  • natto, which is a soybean product

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. People with vitamin D deficiencies have a higher risk of losing bone mass.

A person can absorb vitamin D through moderate sun exposure. Without sufficient vitamin D, a person has a higher risk of developing bone disease, such as osteoporosis or osteopenia.

5. Maintaining a healthy weight

A healthy weight is essential for bone density — people who are underweight have a higher risk of developing bone disease, while excess body weight puts additional stress on the bones.

People should avoid rapid weight loss and cycling between gaining and losing weight. As a person loses weight they can lose bone density, but the density is not restored when a person gains back the weight. This reduction in density can lead to weaker bones.

6. Avoiding a low calorie diet

Super low calorie diets can lead to health problems, including bone density loss.

Before dieting, discuss calorie needs with a healthcare provider to determine a safe target number of calories to consume. Any diet should include a balance of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

7. Eating more protein

Protein plays an essential role in bone health and density, and a person should ensure that they have enough protein in their diet.

A study involving about 144,000 postmenopausal participants found that those who ate an increased amount of protein saw a boost in overall bone density. Collectively, the participants who ate more protein also experienced fewer forearm fractures.

Talk with a doctor before significantly altering protein intake.

8. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Numerous older studies have determined that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in maintaining bone density.

Omega-3 fatty acids are present in a variety of foods, such as salmon, mackerel, nuts, and seeds. People can consume these fatty acids through their diet or through supplements.

9. Eating foods rich in magnesium and zinc

Like calcium, magnesium and zinc are minerals that provide important support for bone health and density.

Magnesium helps activate vitamin D so it can promote calcium absorption. Zinc exists in the bones, and it promotes bone growth and helps prevent the bones from breaking down.

Foods rich in magnesium and zinc include:

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • seeds
  • whole grains

10. Stopping smoking

Smoking is a well-known health hazard. Many people associate smoking with lung cancer and breathing issues, but smoking can also cause bone disease, such as osteoporosis, and increase the risk of bone fractures.

To support healthy bone density, a person should not smoke, especially during their teen and young adult years.

11. Avoiding excessive drinking

In moderation, alcohol consumption is not likely to affect a person’s bone health. However, chronic, heavy drinking can lead to poor calcium absorption, a decrease in bone density, and the development of osteoporosis later in life.

Young women who drink heavily in their teens and 20s are most at risk of bone density loss.

Source: Medical News Today

Autopsies Reveal How Meth Hurts the Heart

Use of the illegal stimulant methamphetamine causes build-up of tough protein fibers in heart muscle, which may help explain the development of enlarged hearts and heart failure in users, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is an extremely addictive and commonly abused stimulant drug, with 1.6 million Americans reporting using the drug in 2017.

Previous autopsy reports of some meth users have documented injury to heart cells, scarring of heart muscle and enlargement of the heart. The current studies were designed to systematically compare autopsy results in meth users and non-users and look for the mechanisms by which the drug might create heart problems.

“Our goal is to discover a fundamental mechanism of methamphetamine toxicity in order to find a way to treat heart muscle diseases associated with illicit methamphetamine use,” said Md. Shenuarin Bhuiyan, Ph.D., senior author of the study and assistant professor in the department of pathology and translational pathobiology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport.

Researchers used heart samples obtained at autopsy from 32 chronic meth users (mostly Caucasian men, average age 38 years) who died from meth overdose or from gunshot wounds, hanging, blunt force injury, stab wounds or sudden heart or lung problems. These were compared with samples from five non-substance users who also died suddenly from gunshot, hanging, blunt force injury or blood clots in the lungs. Meth used was established by medical history and the results of toxicology reports.

In comparison to samples from non-users, samples from the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) in meth users showed:

  • Increased deposits of collagen (stiff protein fibers) around the blood vessels.
  • Accumulation of collagen throughout the spaces between heart muscle cells.

“Regardless of the cause of death, we found methamphetamine has profound harmful effects on the cardiovascular system and results in irreversible damage to the heart, raising the risk of a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest and heart failure,” said Chowdhury S. Abdullah, Ph.D., co-lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Bhuiyan’s laboratory. “Rehabilitation centers for methamphetamine users should routinely monitor heart function and look for signs of heart failure, since early detection of heart problems could prevent further deterioration of the heart muscle. Monitoring should continue even after people have quit using the drug.”

The researchers found similarly increased collagen deposits in mice exposed to meth compared to those who were not. The studies on mice also indicated that methamphetamine may lead to structural changes in heart muscle by inhibiting a specific receptor in the heart, suggesting a possible mechanism to prevent meth-induced heart damage in the future.

The study is limited by using only autopsy samples, so researchers could not determine how the structural differences they documented in methamphetamine users might specifically affect blood tests and heart function.

“We need to further study cardiac function and biochemical blood parameters in methamphetamine users and compare them to those in other substance users and in non-substance users,” Bhuiyan said.

Source: American Heart Association


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