Character Sweets

Japanese Wagashi

New sweets from Lawson stores in Japan. A box of 2 pieces is priced at 259 yen (tax included).

Chinese Shanghai-style Stir-fried Noodle


400 g thick Shanghai noodle
80 g pork loin, shredded
120 g cabbage
2 slices ginger, shredded
1 stalk green onion

Pork Marinade

1-1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1/8 tsp sesame oil
dash of ground white pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water
1 tsp oil

Noodle Seasoning

2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oil


2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp dark soy sauce


  1. Rinse noodles or blanch in hot water for 1 to 2 minutes, remove and drain, mix with noodle seasoning ingredients, set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix pork with pork marinade.
  3. Cut cabbage into thick strips and cut spring onion into sections.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, stir-fry pork until done. Remove and seet aside.

  5. Stir-fry cabbage with remaining oil, remove.
  6. Heat another 2 tbsp oil, stir-fry noodles with ginger and spring onion, add sauce ingredients and mix well.
  7. Add pork and cabbage, toss to combine. Serve hot.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Source: Delicious Recipes of Rice and Noodles

In Pictures: Home-cooked Chicken Thigh Dishes

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Patties With Jalapeño-Mint Yogurt Sauce

Broiled Tandoori-Style Chicken With Almonds and Couscous

Chicken Thighs With Saffron, Lemon, and Red Potatoes

Korean-Style Fire Chicken (Buldak) With Cheese

Bengali Rice Porridge With Lentils and Chicken

Waist Size, Not Body Mass Index, May Be More Predictive of Coronary Artery Disease

For years, women have been told that weight gain could lead to heart disease. A new study indicates that it is the location of the fat that matters most, with abdominal fat representing the greatest harm and not overall body mass index (BMI) when assessing risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). Results are published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Because CAD remains the leading cause of death worldwide, there is tremendous attention given to its modifiable risk factors. Estrogen protects women’s cardiovascular systems before menopause, which helps explain why the incidence of CAD in premenopausal women is lower than in men. However, as women’s estrogen levels decline during and after menopause, the incidence of CAD in postmenopausal women outpaces similarly aged men.

Obesity has long been known as a risk factor for CAD because it causes endothelial cell dysfunction, insulin resistance, and coronary atherosclerosis, among other problems. It also is often accompanied by other cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and diabetes. In the past, it has been suggested that overall obesity (which is often defined by BMI) is a primary risk factor. Few studies have attempted to compare the effect of overall obesity versus central obesity, which is typically described by waist circumference and/or waist-to-hip ratio.

The results of this new study of nearly 700 Korean women, however, demonstrated that the presence of obstructive CAD was significantly higher in women with central obesity. No significant difference was identified based on BMI, indicating that overall obesity was not a risk factor for obstructive CAD. These results are especially relevant for postmenopausal women because menopause causes a change in body fat distribution, especially in the abdominal area.

Findings were published in the article “Association between obesity type and obstructive cardiovascular disease in stable symptomatic postmenopausal women: data from the KoRean wOmen’S chest pain rEgistry (KoROSE).

“The findings of this study are consistent with what we know about the detrimental effects of central obesity. Not all fat is the same, and central obesity is particularly dangerous because it is associated with risk for heart disease, the number one killer of women. Identifying women with excess abdominal fat, even with a normal BMI, is important so that lifestyle interventions can be implemented,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

Source: The North American Menopause Society

Could Red Wine Boost Your Microbiome?

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

A little pinot noir now and then might help keep the bacteria in your tummy healthy and happy, a new study suggests.

As little as one glass of red wine a week can increase the diversity of the good bacteria in your microbiome, which can help lower bad cholesterol and keep your weight down, researchers say.

“The more people drink, the higher the diversity. But even small amounts, such as one glass of red wine every week, shows a benefit,” said study first author Caroline Le Roy. She’s a research associate in the department of twin research and genetic epidemiology at King’s College London.

Le Roy cautioned that while the findings in the study were robust, they can’t prove that red wine improves the microbiome, only that the two are associated.

It’s not the alcohol that has this effect, but rather the polyphenols in red wine. Polyphenols help feed the good bacteria in the microbiome, the researchers explained.

Polyphenols are also found in fruits and vegetables, and include antioxidants.

For the study, Le Roy and her colleagues looked at the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and whiskey on the gut microbiome of 916 female twins.

Only red wine resulted in a more diverse microbiome, the investigators found.

The microbiome is a collection of bacteria in the gut that has an important role in health. A healthy microbiome helps digest food and keeps some diseases at bay.

An unhealthy microbiome can lead to poor functioning of the immune system, weight gain and high cholesterol, Le Roy said.

A microbiome with lots of different bacteria is a healthy microbiome, she added.

Le Roy’s team found that red wine improved the number of different bacteria in the microbiome, compared with those who didn’t drink wine.

The researchers were able to confirm their findings in three other groups in Britain, the Netherlands and the United States, which brought the total number of participants to nearly 3,000.

Moreover, the results remained constant even after accounting for factors such as diet, socioeconomic status and age.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, thinks that drinking red wine may be a marker of a healthy lifestyle, so the health benefits may be due to other factors.

“Do they, in general, lead healthier lives, such as not smoking, eating more of a plant-based diet and exercising?” she asked.

Wine comes from grapes, which like a lot of plant foods, are rich in polyphenols, Heller said.

But polyphenols are also found in vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, legumes and teas that don’t contain alcohol, she noted.

“In addition, plants are our only source of dietary fiber, which is the favorite food for the microbes that live in our gut. When they are healthy, they help keep our bodies healthy,” Heller said.

While drinking small amounts of red wine has apparent health benefits, there are also unhealthy effects of drinking too much, such as liver disease, certain cancers, pancreatitis and a depressed immune system, she said.

“Guzzling red wine, or any alcoholic beverage, is not the miracle we have been led to believe,” Heller said.

For those who drink, the American Heart Association recommends an average of one to two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women (one 12-ounce beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1 ounce of 100 proof spirits).

“Let’s be honest, most of us probably drink more than that. If you do not drink alcohol, there is no reason to start,” Heller said.

The report was published in the journal Gastroenterology.

Source: HealthDay

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