In Pictures: Ramen of Japanese Restaurants in the U.S.

Ramen Soup with Greens


7 cups dashi (Japanese stock)
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce, or dark soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
6 oz dried ramen noodles
8 quail eggs or 4 eggs
8 oz pickled Japanese wild vegetables (sansai) or 7 oz. baby spinach mixed with 1 oz chopped bamboo shoot
2 scallions, finely sliced diagonally


  1. To make the broth, put the dashi, soy sauce, and mirin into a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of unsalted water to a boil, then add the noodles and cook for about 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and tip into a bowl of cold water set under cold running water. Using your hands, carefully rinse the noodles of excess surface starch. Drain again.
  4. Bring a large skillet of water to a boil. Carefully prick the quail eggs with the point of a sharp knife, piercing the tough inner membrane. Crack the eggs into the simmering water, cover, and immediately remove from the heat. Let stand for 1 minute until just set, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to arrest cooking. If using eggs, cook for 4 minutes, then transfer to cold water.
  5. Return the broth to a boil, add the noodles and pickled vegetables or spinach and bamboo shoot, and reheat for 1 minute. Divide between 4 heated soup bowls, top with the poached eggs and scallions, then serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Noodles and Pasta

Pork Made from Plants Launched by Impossible Foods

A plant-based pork substitute has been launched in Las Vegas by one of the leading “alternative meat” producers.

Impossible Foods, the firm behind the Impossible Burger, says it hopes to appeal to a global audience with its latest vegetarian-friendly meal, which it unveiled at the CES tech show.

Pork is currently the most widely consumed meat in the world.

The company hopes the product will help it break into China. But one expert said it might find that a challenge.

The first product to feature the foodstuff – the Impossible Sausage – will be available next week at 67 Burger King restaurants in the US, in a sandwich-based dish called the Croissan’wich.

Rival firm Beyond Meat has offered a lab-produced sausage product since 2018, but California-based Impossible Foods is also offering a ground pork substitute that it says can be used in a wide range of traditional recipes.

The new products are designed to comply with kosher and halal rules followed by some observers of the Jewish and Islamic faiths.

The firm’s sausage and plant-based pork products, like its ground beef substitute, are made using heme (or “haem” in British English) – a molecule derived from plants that contains iron and that resembles blood.

Heme is found in real meat but can be produced without farming animals.

The new products also contain no gluten, animal hormones or antibiotics.

“Now we’re accelerating the expansion of our product portfolio to more of the world’s favourite foods,” said Patrick Brown, Impossible Foods’ founder and chief executive.

“We won’t stop until we eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.”

Source: BBC

Cutting Out Alcohol May Reduce Atrial Fibrillation Episodes

Gene Emery wrote . . . . . . . . .

For people with atrial fibrillation, abstinence from alcohol may make the heart beat better.

Eliminating most alcohol consumption dramatically cuts the number of episodes of the potentially-deadly heart rhythm disturbance among moderate and heavy drinkers, according to results of a six-month Australian study of 140 volunteers published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

While atrial fibrillation (AF), or Afib, reappeared in 73% of the people who averaged 13 drinks per week, the rate dropped to 53% among patients in the abstinence group – who weren’t supposed to drink at all but, on average, consumed two drinks weekly.

In addition, among the people trying to abstain, it took longer for their next episode of Afib to occur.

“What this study shows is the potential impact of alcohol reduction or abstinence in people with symptomatic heart rhythm problems,” co-author Dr. Peter Kistler of The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne told Reuters Health by phone. People with Afib symptoms who have 10 drinks per week should be advised to abstain or reduce their alcohol use, he said.

“Alcohol is not only a marker of increased risk of AF (as shown before, based on observational studies), but it seems to be also a real risk factor for AF, because if we ‘treat’ (in this case stop taking alcohol), we have a significant reduction in both the AF burden and the recurrence of AF,” Dr. Renato Lopes, a professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who wasn’t involved in the study, said in an email.

Afib occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat erratically. It is the most common heart rhythm problem and a leading cause of stroke. In some people, it comes and goes. Symptoms include weakness, shortness of breath and palpitations.

Doctors try to treat it by controlling blood pressure and other factors, but the new study “presents a compelling argument for alcohol abstinence as part of the successful management of atrial fibrillation,” writes Dr. Anne Gillis of the University of Calgary in an editorial accompanying the study. “Nevertheless, the sobering reality is that for many persons with atrial fibrillation, total abstinence from alcohol may be a difficult goal to achieve.”

In fact, the researchers were originally planning to follow patients for 12 months, but they couldn’t find enough volunteers willing to abstain from alcohol for that long.

The findings are not completely surprising. Population-based research had suggested that every drink (12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or a 1.5 ounce of distilled spirits) increases the risk of atrial fibrillation by 8%. The new randomized trial was designed to be a definitive test.

The Kistler team found it typically took 120 days for Afib to reappear in the non-drinking group versus 87 days in the group that wasn’t instructed to reduce alcohol consumption.

At the six-month mark, the hearts of the drinkers spent 1.2% of the time in Afib versus 0.5% of the time among volunteers assigned to abstinence.

Two thirds of the volunteers were taking antiarrhythmic drugs. The group allowed to continue to drink reduced their alcohol consumption a bit anyway. In the abstinence group, 61% were able to cut out alcohol completely but one quarter of the volunteers couldn’t get their weekly consumption below two drinks per week.

“Those who completely abstained had more benefit or a greater reduction in atrial fibrillation compared to those who reduced their intake but continued to drink,” Kistler noted. “If we had had complete abstinence, I think the difference would have been even greater.”

The non-drinkers also lost an average of 8 pounds more than the drinkers and saw a significant drop in blood pressure.

Doctors often advise patients that having a drink a day can be good for the heart, but that should not apply to Afib patients, Kistler said. Even in patients with heart disease, the new results “still suggest that they reduce their alcohol intake substantially.”

Source: Reuters

Can Strength Training Slow Cognitive Decline?

Sarah Watts wrote . . . . . . . . .

Lifting weights can boost strength and balance, but how does it affect cognition?

“Building muscle mass should be part of everyone’s plan to reduce the risk of cognitive decline,” says Richard Isaacson, MD, FAAN, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at the Weill Cornell Memory Disorders Program in New York City. People tend to lose 1 percent of their muscle mass every year as they age, and low muscle mass, combined with excess fat, gives rise to metabolic problems associated with cognitive decline, he explains. “Whatever happens in the body affects brain health. As belly size gets bigger, the hippocampus gets smaller, and our cognitive decline suffers,” he says, citing a 2019 study in Neurology that looked at the link between body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and brain volume. “Exercise has the ability to actually grow the brain and boost brain function.”

Lifestyle modifications that include strength training and other exercise, as well as dietary changes, may improve cognitive function and reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s in the future, according to Dr. Isaacson’s own research published last year in Alzheimer’s and Dementia. He notes in the report that more research is needed to prove a connection between exercise and Alzheimer’s. And to reap any benefits from exercise and strength training, you have to do more than visit a gym once a month, Dr. Isaacson says.

Instead of telling his patients to simply exercise, Dr. Isaacson encourages them to develop a specific, individualized plan. To do that, he recommends they contact a doctor of osteopathy, who can measure body composition, and then reach out to a physical therapist or certified trainer who can help them build muscle, trim fat, and balance their metabolism. According to the National Institute on Aging, people should try to work up to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise as often as possible, preferably every day. They also should do strength training exercises for all muscle groups at least twice a week for 30 minutes. Elderly people and those with chronic illness should adhere to these standards as much as they’re able.

As for specific muscle-building exercises, Dr. Isaacson recommends whatever won’t hurt patients. “I think of exercise as a pyramid: The top is intense aerobic exercise like CrossFit, and the bottom is gentle stretching. Start at the bottom, go slowly, and work your way up with weights, circuit machines, and dumbbells.”

Source: Brain & Life

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