Opinion: Fake Meat Might Not be Healthy, But That’s The Point

Catherine Lamb wrote . . . . . . . . .

This week I had about five people ping me — including my mom’s friend and my uncle — when the New York Times published an article by Anahad O’Connor exploring the question: Is plant-based meat good for you?

Provocatively titled “Fake Meat vs. Real Meat,” the piece lays out how the meat industry is accusing meat alternatives of being heavily processed and, therefore, suspect. Plant-based meat companies argue that they’re no more processed than, say, yogurt, or bread.

The article is worth a read if you’re looking for an overview on the state of the alt-meat industry. But I think the bigger question at play here — more important than “Is plant-based meat good for you?” — is “How much does it matter?” After all, we aren’t meant to be eating Beyond burgers every day, just like we’re not meant to eat beef burgers every day.

The article touches on this point a bit towards the end. It quotes Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods: “If you’re hungry for a burger and you want something that’s better for you and better for the planet that delivers everything you want from a burger, then this is a great product. But if you’re hungry for a salad, eat a salad.”

Scientists are still trying to determine the long-term health effects of plant-based burgers, so I think it’s a little early to say that they’re categorically “better for you” than beef burgers.

The bigger point is that plant-based burgers aren’t supposed to be better for you than regular burgers. Instead, they’re meant to fill a gap in the market that didn’t exist: really tasty, vegan junk food that hits the spot just as well as the real thing. Because even though black bean or quinoa burgers are unarguably healthier than beef burgers, they just don’t scratch the “I need a burger” itch in the same way.

Impossible burgers and its brethren can — or are at least pretty darn close. And while they might not be a diet-friendly option, they’re almost certainly healthier for the planet than an average beef burger. Just don’t expect them to magically be both tasty and healthy.

There you go, Uncle Peter! That’s what I think about the article.

Source: The Spoon

Balti Fish Curry

Ingredients

2 lb thick fish fillets, such as angler fish, red snapper, cod, or haddock, rinsed and cut into large chunks
2 fresh bay leaves, torn
2/3 cup ghee or vegetable or peanut oil
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 tbsp salt
2/3 cup water
fresh cilantro sprigs, to garnish

Marinade

1/2 tbsp Garlic and Ginger Paste
1 fresh green chili, seeded and chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp water
salt

Method

  1. To make the marinade, mix the Garlic and Ginger Paste, green chili, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder together with salt to taste in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the water to form a thin paste.
  2. Add the fish chunks and smear with the marinade. Tuck the bay leaves underneath, cover, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
  3. Remove the fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you intend to start cooking.
  4. Melt the ghee in a karahi, wok, or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with the salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes, or until very soft and golden.
  5. Gently add the fish and bay leaves to the pan and stir in the water. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat and cook the fish, spooning the sauce over the fish and carefully moving the chunks around, for 4-5 minutes until they are cooked through and the flesh flakes easily.
  6. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and garnish with cilantro sprigs before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Curries

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Jamie Eske wrote . . . . . . . . .

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a naturally occurring chemical that exists in almost every cell of the human body. CoQ10 carries out several vital roles, including promoting energy production and neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals.

A deficiency in CoQ10 can adversely affect a person’s health. People can get CoQ10 through foods and supplements.

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is an essential nutrient present in almost every cell of the human body. The following foods also contain CoQ10:

  • oily fish
  • organ meats
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • whole grains

CoQ10 plays a vital role in energy production and DNA replication and repair. It also acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals.

Several factors can lower CoQ10 levels in the body. These include:

  • aging
  • taking statins, which are cholesterol-lowering medications
  • genetic mutations that affect the production of CoQ10
  • disorders of the mitochondria, which are the parts of the cell that generate energy
  • CoQ10 deficiency is associated with numerous diseases, including:
    • heart disease
    • cancer
    • Alzheimer’s disease

How does it work

For the body to use CoQ10, it must convert it from its inactive form, ubiquinone, into it its active form, ubiquinol.

Mitochondria are responsible for powering the body’s cells. To do this, they use CoQ10 to produce the chemical adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This process is known as ATP synthesis. ATP is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells.

However, mitochondria produce free radicals during ATP synthesis.

Under normal conditions, free radicals regulate communication between cells and defend the body against infectious microbes. However, excess free radicals cause DNA damage, which can lead to the following:

  • inflammation
  • DNA mutations
  • tissue damage

CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals. In this way, CoQ10 helps protect cells from the harmful effects of DNA damage.

What is the correct dosage?

The exact recommended dose of CoQ10 will vary according to the following factors:

  • a person’s age
  • a person’s health
  • the condition receiving treatment

Standard daily doses of CoQ10Trusted Source range from 60 milligrams (mg) to 500 mg. The highest recommended dose is 1,200 mg. However, clinical trials have used dosages as high as 3,000 mg per day.

Different types of CoQ10 supplements may also require different dosages. Most supplements contain the inactive form of CoQ10, ubiquinone, which is harder to absorb than ubiquinol.

A 2018 randomized trial compared the effects of 200 mg daily doses of ubiquinone and ubiquinol supplements on CoQ10 levels in older men. Ubiquinol supplementation led to a 1.5-fold increase in the amount of CoQ10 in the blood. Supplements containing ubiquinone did not have a significant effect on CoQ10 levels.

Benefits of CoQ10

CoQ10 protects cells against oxidative damage. It also plays a vital role in producing the body’s primary source of energy, ATP. CoQ10 could, therefore, provide a range of health benefits. Some examples include:

Improving heart health

The heart contains some of the highest concentrations of CoQ10 in the body. The vast majority of people with heart disease also have low CoQ10 levels. ResearchersTrusted Source now consider low CoQ10 levels to be an indicator of the severity and long term outcome of various heart diseases.

In one 2018 pilot studyTrusted Source, ten children with cardiac muscle dysfunction received 110–700 mg of liquid ubiquinol per day. At weeks 12 and 24 of treatment, the children had significantly higher CoQ10 plasma levels and improved heart function.

Reducing muscle pain from statin use

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. Doctors often prescribe statins to treat CVD. These drugs work by reducing the cholesterol production that can contribute to the disease.

Although statins reduce cholesterol production, they also lower CoQ10 levels. Reduced CoQ10 levels can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, which can cause muscle painTrusted Source, or myopathy.

CoQ10 supplements may help relieve muscle pain related to statin use.

A 2019 randomized controlled trialTrusted Source investigated the effect of CoQ10 on statin-related muscle pain. The study involved 60 participants who had previously reported muscle pain while taking statins. Over 3 months, each participant received daily doses of either 100mg of CoQ10 supplement or a placebo.

The participants who took the CoQ10 supplements had significantly reduced statin-related muscle pain. Those who received the placebo reported no change in muscle pain.

However, the authors of a 2015 meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy of CoQ10 supplementation for treating statin-related muscle pain. The meta-analysis included six studies with a combined total of 302 patients. The authors found no evidence that CoQ10 significantly improves statin-related muscle pain.

Further large-scale RCTs are necessary to determine whether CoQ10 is a viable treatment for people experiencing statin-related muscle pain.

Treating migraines

Chronic migraines may be due to inflammation of neurons and cells in a part of the brain called the trigeminovascular system.

A 2018 clinical trial investigated whether coQ10 supplements could reduce inflammation in 45 women with episodic migraines. The women took 400 mg daily doses of either a CoQ10 supplement or a placebo. The women who took the CoQ10 supplements had fewer and less intense migraines when compared to the placebo group.

Women who took the CoQ10 supplements also showed lower levels of certain inflammatory biomarkers. Inflammatory biomarkers are substances in the blood that indicate the presence of inflammation somewhere in the body.

A 2018 meta-analysis reexamined five studies investigating the use of CoQ10 supplements for migraines. The meta-analysis concluded that CoQ10 is more effective than a placebo at reducing the duration of migraines. However, CoQ10 did not appear to affect migraine severity or frequency.

Protecting against age-related diseases

Mitochondrial function decreases as the body’s CoQ10 levels naturally deplete with age.

ResearchTrusted Source suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction can contribute to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These diseases are associated with free radical damage.

A 2015 study investigated the effect of a Mediterranean diet combined with CoQ10 supplementation on metabolism in elderly adults. This combination led to an increase in antioxidant biomarkers in the urine.

The authors concluded that taking CoQ10 and eating a diet low in saturated fat may help protect against diseases caused by free radical damage.

In another 2015 studyTrusted Source, older adults received CoQ10 and selenium supplements for 48 months. The participants reported improvements in vitality, physical performance, and overall quality of life.

Risks of too much CoQ10

CoQ10 supplements appear to be safe, and most people tolerate them even at high doses. However, CoQ10 supplements can cause the following side effects:

  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • light sensitivity
  • insomnia
  • skin rash

CoQ10 supplements may interfere with certain medications, including:

  • blood-thinners, such as warfarin
  • insulin
  • some types of chemotherapy medication

People should consult a doctor before taking any new medications or dietary supplements, including CoQ10.

Source: Medical News Today

Low-Dose Aspirin Might Cut Cancer Risk, Especially for Overweight People

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

Daily low-dose aspirin might reduce your risk of dying from cancer, particularly if you’ve packed on a few extra pounds, researchers say.

Taking aspirin three or more times a week is associated with a lower risk of cancer death as well as death for any reason, a new study reports.

Aspirin’s protective effect appears particularly pronounced among people who are overweight — those with a body mass index of 25 to 29.9, the results show.

Low-dose aspirin reduced overall cancer death risk by 15% and all-cause death by 19% among more than 146,000 people who participated in a cancer screening trial conducted between 1993 and 2008, the study authors said.

Overweight folks also experienced a marked decline in their risk of death from gastrointestinal cancer (28%) and colon cancer (34%).

“Our primary focus was really on colorectal cancer deaths, since there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that aspirin use may lower risk of gastrointestinal deaths,” said lead researcher Holli Loomans-Kropp, a cancer prevention fellow with the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The study results support the standing recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which says people 50 to 59 should take low-dose aspirin to prevent colon cancer if they’re not at increased risk for bleeding.

Daily aspirin use as a preventive health measure has become controversial over the past few years, however.

In March, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association changed their guidelines to restrict low-dose aspirin use to people at high risk for heart disease or stroke. The two groups argued that the bleeding risk from aspirin outweighed the heart benefits for healthy people.

The USPSTF continues to recommend low-dose aspirin for middle-aged people for heart health, if they have a 10% or greater chance of developing heart disease within the next decade.

The new study involved a re-analysis of data gathered during the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, which was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

No one knows why aspirin might have this protective effect, but Loomans-Kropp said evidence points toward its anti-inflammatory action.

“Gastrointestinal cancers are highly inflammation-associated cancers, and where the strongest effect has been is with the gastrointestinal cancers,” Loomans-Kropp said.

It’s also possible that aspirin’s blood-thinning effect might play a role, said Eric Jacobs, senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society.

“Aspirin may help prevent cancer the same way that it helps prevent heart attacks, which is by blocking the activation of blood platelet cells,” Jacobs said. “We know that activated platelets can release factors that help tumors grow, and activated platelets may also help cancers spread throughout the body.”

People worried about colon cancer should talk with their doctor about getting screened for the disease, since a colonoscopy can remove polyps before they can develop into cancer, Jacobs said.

“Aspirin use is not the only way or the best way to lower risk of colorectal cancer,” Jacobs said, adding that maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, quitting smoking and eating less red meat also can help reduce your risk.

Anyone thinking about taking daily aspirin should discuss it with their doctor first, said Dr. Merry Jennifer Markham, a spokesperson for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and a cancer doctor with the University of Florida.

“It’s important to have a discussion with the physician about whether the benefits of regular aspirin use outweigh the harms,” Markham said. “I don’t believe this is a one-size-fits-all approach, and must be individualized based on the individual person’s other health issues and bleeding risks.”

The new study was published online in JAMA Network Open.

Source: HealthDay

How Well Are You Aging? A Blood Test Might Tell

Imagine a blood test that could spot whether you are aging too quickly.

New research suggests it’s not the stuff of science fiction anymore.

The scientists analyzed plasma — the cell-free, fluid part of blood — from more than 4,200 people between the ages of 18 and 95, and found a link between 373 proteins and aging.

“We’ve known for a long time that measuring certain proteins in the blood can give you information about a person’s health status — lipoproteins for cardiovascular health, for example,” said study senior author Tony Wyss-Coray. He’s co-director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Stanford University in California.

“But it hasn’t been appreciated that so many different proteins’ levels — roughly a third of all the ones we looked at — change markedly with advancing age,” he added in a university news release.

The study was published Dec. 5 in the journal Nature Medicine.

“Proteins are the workhorses of the body’s constituent cells, and when their relative levels undergo substantial changes, it means you’ve changed, too,” Wyss-Coray explained. “Looking at thousands of them in plasma gives you a snapshot of what’s going on throughout the body.”

The findings suggest that physical aging doesn’t occur at a steady pace, but is uneven and has three distinct surges — ages 34, 60 and 78.

At those ages, there are spikes in levels of specific proteins in the blood with noticeable changes, according to the researchers.

Eventually, a blood test for these proteins might be able to identify people who are aging more rapidly than normal and at increased risk for age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or heart disease.

Such a test might also help identify drugs or other factors that slow or speed aging, the study authors said.

However, any clinical use of such a blood test is at least five to 10 years away, the researchers noted.

“Ideally, you’d want to know how virtually anything you took or did affects your physiological age,” Wyss-Coray said.

Source: HealthDay


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