What’s the Difference between Broccolini, Broccoli Rabe, and Chinese Broccoli?

Brette Warshaw wrote . . . . . . . . .

I know, I know. There are few topics as sexy as cruciferous vegetables — especially the brethren of the classic eat-your-vegetables vegetable, broccoli. But just how when you grow up, you realize that vegetables are actually, well, pretty good, turns out that vegetables — or at least the differences between ones like Chinese broccoli, broccolini, and broccoli rabe — are actually pretty interesting, too.

Let’s start with Chinese broccoli, also known as gai-lan, kai-lan, or Chinese kale. Chinese broccoli is a member of the species Brassica oleracea, the same species as regular broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower; however, its “cultivar group” is called alboglabra, which sounds completely made up and/or like something out of Harry Potter. It has thick stems, itty-bitty florets, and large, flat leaves, and its flavor is somehow stronger and more broccoli-esque than regular broccoli.

Broccolini is actually a HYBRID vegetable, a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli that was invented in 1993. It was first grown under the name “Asparation” (??) because of its asparagus-flavor undertones, but then some genius was like “that is a truly horrible name for a vegetable” and decided to market it as “broccolini” in the United States instead. Broccolini/Asparation has a long, leggy stem, small florets, and small, if any, leaves, and is more tender and sweeter than either of its parents.

Lastly, we have broccoli rabe, also known as rapini, which is not a broccoli derivative at all and is instead more closely related to the turnip. It’s a bitter green, similar to a mustard green, with thin stalks, little buds, and lots and lots of leaves. It’s particularly popular in Italian cooking, where it’s often sautéed in garlic and/or used in pasta dishes.

Come March or April, you may start seeing “overwintered broccoli rabe” at the farmers’ market, which is broccoli rabe that was planted in the fall and then harvested in the early spring. This broccoli rabe is not as large and leafy as normal-wintered broccoli rabe, but the leaves and stalks are more tender and less bitter; the vegetable has to produce extra sugar in order to not freeze.

Source: What’s The Difference

Toasted English Muffins with Blueberries and Bacon

Ingredients

2 English muffins
4 lean bacon slices
1 cup blueberries
2 tsp maple syrup or clear honey

Method

  1. Preheat the broiler on a medium—high setting.
    Slice the muffins in half horizontally and place them, cut sides down, on the rack in the broiler pan.

  2. Lay the bacon on the rack and cook until the tops of the muffins are toasted and the bacon is lightly cooked on one side.
  3. Turn the muffins and divide the blueberries among the bottom halves. Invert the bacon on to the blueberries, covering them completely. Cook for a further 2 minutes, removing the top halves as soon as they are toasted and the bottom halves when the bacon is browned and crisp.
  4. Place the muffin bases on warmed plates, drizzle with maple syrup or honey, and add the muffin tops. Serve at once.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Toast It!

The Newest Way to Understand the Angry People in Your Life

Susan Krauss Whitbourne wrote . . . . . . . . .

Anyone can have trouble controlling their anger from time to time. You may be frustrated because you’ve just made a huge mistake in a big project and have to start again from scratch. Perhaps you’re stuck in a long commute and will be an hour late getting home. You might be angry at a relative who just won’t back off from demanding your time and attention. All of these are situations that can lead anyone to yell out in rage, if only at the fates.

How about people you know who chronically seem ready to explode with little or no provocation? What kinds of situations arouse them to higher and higher levels of fury, or are they always on the verge of exploding over nothing? And when they release their anger, what happens next? They’ve yelled at their partner over practically nothing, and now the partner walks out the door, annoyed and disgusted at being treated in such a rude and offensive manner. This rejection only inspires even more of their outrage.

Why might anger be such a problem for some people? According to psychologist Nienke de Bles and colleagues (2019), of Leiden University in the Netherlands, the source of both chronic anger and episodes of rage may lie in the psychological disorders of anxiety and depression. For example, the authors note that there is a surprisingly high 50% rate of irritability among people with major depressive disorder, with 26 to 49% experiencing attacks of anger. People with dysthymia, a chronic but less extreme form of depressive disorder, have a similarly high rate of anger attacks, estimated at 28 to 53%. Among people with an anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder, there are also high rates of hostility and anger.

As impressive as these statistics are, the Dutch authors believe that the data may be flawed. Research studies establishing these percentages used measures of anger that, the research team points out, were not sufficiently validated. In some cases, the statistics were based on very short tests of anger and irritability, ranging from a single item to perhaps four drawn from another assessment not initially intended to examine anger.

Furthermore, previous studies didn’t separate what’s known as “trait” anger (the tendency to be angry all the time) from “state” anger (being enraged at the time of testing). As the authors note, “Making a distinction between patients with an angry disposition as a constant factor embedded in personality, and patients that respond angrily to an immediate situation, is of clinical importance”.

To test the role of both forms of anger in anxiety and depressive disorders, de Bles et al. drew participants from a large-scale longitudinal study based in the Netherlands that followed people for a period of four years. The original sample consisted of nearly 2,900 adults ages 18 to 65 years of age recruited from a variety of treatment sites in the community, although there were also controls who did not have a lifetime history of psychological disorders. The data for the anger study came from nearly 2,300 who participated in the fourth wave of the follow-up.

Included in the study were not only the anger scales but also demographic measures including educational background, body mass index, smoking history, lifetime history of alcohol dependence and abuse, and use of drugs in the past month. The average age of the sample was 46 years old, with most between 33 and 59 years of age; two-thirds were female. As might be expected in a psychiatric sample, those with anxiety and depressive disorders were more likely to smoke, had higher body mass, and reported having a history of alcohol dependence and abuse.

To measure trait anger, the Dutch authors asked participants to complete a 10-item scale widely used in personality research. Half of the trait anger items assessed a general disposition for experiencing anger and eventually expressing it (temperament); the remaining five asked whether participants were more likely to express anger after some sort of provocation. Sample trait items were “I get annoyed quickly” and “I am quickly irritated.” The tendency to express anger in the form of an outburst, or the more state-like quality, was tapped by a self-report scale in which participants stated that they frequently experienced irritation, overreacted to minor annoyances, inappropriately expressed anger and rage toward others, and had at least one anger attack in the past month. To be counted as an anger attack, participants had to check off symptoms such as feeling their heart was racing or short of breath, trembling, feeling dizzy, sweating, feeling like attacking others, and throwing or destroying objects.

The researchers divided their participants into five diagnostic groups that included those with a current depressive disorder (204 participants), anxiety disorder (288), comorbid (joint) depressive and anxiety disorder (222), no psychiatric diagnosis (470), and a history of past anxiety and/or depressive disorder that was no longer active (1107). As the authors predicted, the scores on the trait anger measures were highest in the comorbid anxiety and depression group, with approximately 45% classified as above the 75th percentile of scores. The combined group also had a higher prevalence of anger attacks, at approximately 23% within the past month. The highest rates of anger attacks occurred for people with major depressive disorder and, of the anxiety disorders, social phobia, panic disorder, and especially generalized anxiety disorder.

Of all the other predictors, only past month use of a drug predicted higher rates of anger attacks. However, participants with remitted disorders also had higher trait anger scores and rates of anger attacks, so that even in recovery, anger remains a problem for individuals with a history of these psychological disorders.

An important takeaway from this study, according to the authors, is that clinicians working with people who have these disorders may easily overlook the trait of anger and anger attacks because “they are not part of core … symptoms, and insight and self-consciousness of feelings of anger may be hampered”. Notably, people who experienced worry and symptoms of depression had higher levels of anger, suggesting a more general problem with emotion dysregulation, or the inability to maintain control over their feelings. It is also important, as the authors point out, to address anger among people with these psychological disorders as a public health precaution, given the many adverse outcomes that can be associated with an anger outburst in people whose anxiety and depression go untreated.

To sum up, the study shows the unrecognized but important role of anger in psychological disorders not usually conceived of in terms of the tendency to experience rage. Looking at the findings from another perspective, if people you know seem unusually angry and ready to explode, consider the possibility that anxiety and depression may be the source of their emotional turmoil. Helping them manage their psychological disorders may prove, in the long run, to help them be better able to manage their angry emotions.

Source: Psychology Today

Walking and Cycling to Work Linked with Fewer Heart Attacks

Walking and cycling to work were associated with fewer heart attacks across 43 million adults in England, according to a new national study.

Co-authored by Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Olympic-medal winning triathletes and alumni of the University of Leeds, the research suggests that active travel could provide important health benefits.

In areas where walking or cycling to work were more common in 2011, the incidence of heart attacks decreased for both men and women across the following two years.

The researchers acknowledged that the big risk factors for heart disease are a lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking and diabetes.

After adjusting for these, the researchers found that active commuting was linked with additional health benefits in some cases. For women who walked to work there was an associated 1.7% reduction in heart attacks the following year. For men who cycled to work there was also an associated 1.7% reduction in heart attacks the following year.

“Active travel has clear benefits – both for people and the environment – and this research provides further compelling evidence to encourage more people to travel by bike or on foot.”

The research, led by the University of Leeds, was published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Co-author Alistair Brownlee, double Olympic triathlon champion with British Triathlon, said: “Our study at the University of Leeds shows that exercise as a means of commuting to work is associated with lower levels of heart attack. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous and we support initiatives to help everyone become and stay active.”

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee smiling and looking at the camera outside the Brownlee Centre at the University of LeedsBrothers Alistair (left) and Jonny (right) Brownlee co-authored the health research into active travel

The Government has recognised the potential of active transport to help tackle physical inactivity, climate change, air pollution and congestion. Despite this, the proportion of people who exercise as part of their commute remains low.

The study looked at the 2011 UK Census data, which included 43 million people aged 25-74 years employed in England, and found that 11.4% were active commuters. Walking was more popular than cycling (8.6% vs. 2.8%).

Lead author Professor Chris Gale, Consultant Cardiologist, from the University of Leeds’ Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, said: “Whilst we cannot conclusively say that active travel to work lowers the risk of heart attack, the study is indicative of such a relationship.

“Greater efforts by national and local policy makers to improve the uptake of cycling and walking to work are likely to be rewarded by future improvements in population-based health.

“The effect of active commuting is fairly modest when compared with the stronger determinants of cardiovascular health such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and regular exercise. However, this study clearly suggests that exercising on the way to work has the potential to bring nationwide improvements to health and wellbeing.”

Active commuting was defined as people who reported their main mode of transport to work as either ‘bicycle’ or ‘on foot’ in the UK Census.

Rates of active travel varied significantly between local authorities across England, with as few as 5% of people walking or cycling to work in some authorities, compared to as many as 41.6% in other areas.

There was also a sex difference for active travel in the 2011 Census data, with more men cycling to work than women (3.8% vs. 1.7%), but more women walking to work than men (11.7% vs. 6.0%).

The research was funded in part by the British Heart Foundation.

In July, the Transport Select Committee published a report on active travel, concluding that walking and cycling have not been given enough attention by policymakers and current targets are not ambitious enough.

The Government’s current aim is to double the number of people cycling by 2025.

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Cycling and Walking Minister, said: “Active travel has clear benefits – both for people and the environment – and this research provides further compelling evidence to encourage more people to travel by bike or on foot.

“To help get more people walking and cycling, we have invested £2 billion over five years.

“On top of this, we are providing a £350 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund to increase provision for separated bike lanes on main roads, which will let thousands exercise safely as part of their daily commute.”

Leeds City Council is one of many local authorities attempting to encourage people to walk and cycle more regularly, and in August this year Alistair Brownlee became Leeds’ first Active Travel Ambassador.

He said: “I think it’s so important that we encourage people to travel as actively as they can. It benefits their health, their psychology, as well as helping the environment.

“We need to see vast improvements in cycling and walking infrastructure to help make people more confident in their routes, and encourage them away from relying on private cars.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation said: “Finding time to exercise can be tricky given our increasingly busy and often sedentary lives. But exercising doesn’t have to involve a pricey gym membership or hours spent on a treadmill.

“Upgrading your commute – by swapping the gas pedal for a bike pedal – is a great way to get your heart pumping on a daily basis. If that’s not an option, parking a few streets away or getting off the bus a few stops early can help pave the way to a longer, healthier life.”

The paper is published in the journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Source: University of Leeds

Spending Time on Cultural Activities Might Extend Senior’s Life

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

If you’re a senior who loves to take in the latest art exhibit or check out a new musical, it might do more than stimulate your senses: New research suggests it could lengthen your life.

Scientists found that among over 6,700 older adults they tracked, patrons of the arts had a markedly better survival rate over the next 14 years.

People who, at the outset, devoted time to cultural activities at least every few months were 31% less likely to die during the study period, versus those who never did.

The findings do not prove the arts will extend your life. But they do add to evidence that “engaging in the arts can help promote good health,” said lead researcher Daisy Fancourt, an associate professor at University College London, in the United Kingdom.

And you don’t have to be the artist. According to Fancourt, a body of research suggests that “receptive” arts involvement can benefit physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Walking around a museum might not be a workout, but it does replace sedentary time on the couch. Being immersed in music, art, dance or theater can also provide mental stimulation, a balm for stress or depression, and a chance to socialize.

“Participating in the arts should not be something you do when everything else is OK in your life,” said Dr. Nicola Gill, of Health Education England, part of the U.K. health service. “It should be something you do as part of everyday living. The richer your tapestry of life, the better able you are to survive and thrive.”

Gill co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study published online in the BMJ.

The findings were based on 6,710 U.K. adults who were, on average, 66 years old at the start. Over 3,000 said they attended arts events infrequently (once or twice a year), while 1,900 did so frequently (at least every few months).

Over the next 14 years, both groups had a lower death rate compared with people who were uninvolved in the arts. In that latter group, the death rate was 47%, versus 27% in the group that made time for the arts once or twice a year.

The lowest death rate was seen among people who frequently attended arts events — at just under 19%, the findings showed.

Of course, there are many other differences among those groups of people, Fancourt said. Most obviously, older adults who are healthier and wealthier can more easily see concerts, plays and art exhibits.

So her team accounted for people’s wealth, education level, marital status and whether they lived in urban or rural areas. And those factors did not account for the longevity edge.

Arts patrons did tend to score higher on tests of memory and thinking, have fewer disabilities, and be more physically and socially active in general.

Still, those differences explained only part of the arts-longevity link, the researchers said.

Does that mean there’s something unique about the arts that promotes a longer (hopefully better) life? Not necessarily.

If you dislike museums, devoting time to them probably wouldn’t benefit you, noted James Maddux, a senior scholar with the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va.

And, he said, there’s nothing to say that people couldn’t get similar benefits from other activities that get them out of the house and socializing — whether that’s seeing movies or sports, or taking a hike in the woods.

“I wouldn’t want people to get the idea that these [arts] activities are the ones everyone should be doing,” said Maddux, who was not involved in the study.

Instead, he sees the findings as more evidence that it’s important to fill your life with meaningful activities.

A question the study leaves open is whether participation in the arts — not only being an audience member — is related to a longer life.

“Is it even better to take a painting class or dance lessons?” Maddux said. “That might enhance your experience of seeing exhibits or performances.”

In addition, Fancourt’s team noted, the study participants were surveyed at only one time point: It’s not clear whether you would need to be a lifelong arts fan to see a longevity benefit — or whether the same holds true for retirees who newly discover the theater.

Source: HealthDay


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