What’s for Dinner?

Home-cooked Italian Dinner

The Menu

Creamy Onion Soup

Green Salad with Broad Bean, Pea Pod, Broccoli and Cheese

Penne with Cuttlefish

Dessert: Green Tea Ice

Lamb Koftas with White Beans


12-1/2 oz canned white beans, drained, rinsed
1 tbsp lemon jiuce
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp milk
1-1/4 lb ground lamb
1 tsp ground allspice
1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves, extra, chopped
3 oz fetta, crumbled
1 baby romaine lettuce, trimmed, leaves separated

Beetroot Tzatiki

6-1/2 oz beets, peeled, grated
1 cup Greek-type yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind


  1. Make beetroot tzatiki by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and season to taste.
  2. Combine white beans, juice, oregano and half the oil in a medium bowl. Season to taste.
  3. Place breadcrumbs and milk in a medium bowl. Stand for 3 minutes or until milk has been absorbed.
  4. Add lamb, allspice, extra oregano, salt and pepper. Using your hands, work mixture until well combined.
  5. Add fetta and stir until combined. Roll heaped tablespoonful measures of lamb mixture into kofta shapes.
  6. Heat remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook kofta, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
  7. Serve kofta on lettuce with bean mixture and tzatziki.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Everyday Powerfoods

More Evidence That Ditching Red Meat Is Good for Your Heart

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

If you want a longer, healthier life, try replacing that steak with beans, vegetables or whole grains — but preferably not a fast-food veggie burger.

That’s according to two preliminary studies by Harvard researchers. They found that people who eat plenty of “high-quality” plant foods instead of red or processed meat have a lower risk of heart attack and tend to live longer.

The “high-quality” part is key, experts stressed.

It’s not enough to simply cut out steaks, burgers and deli meat, according to Dr. Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist who was not involved in the research. Those foods have to be replaced with healthy choices like nuts, legumes, vegetables and fiber-rich whole grains.

Freeman said ditching meat in favor of processed, sugary carbs might actually be less healthy. And no, those processed veggie burgers don’t make the cut, either.

“They’re technically plant-based, but they can also be loaded with sodium and fat,” said Freeman, who directs cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver.

“We really want to be eating a diet that’s mostly plant-based and full of minimally processed, whole foods,” he said.

The findings come from a pair of large, long-term studies presented Thursday at an American Heart Association meeting in Phoenix. Research reported at meetings is generally considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Each of the new studies tracked middle-aged Americans’ eating habits and their risks of developing or dying from heart disease.

One involved more than 37,000 people with an average age of 50. Over 15 years, more than 4,800 died. That risk was 27% lower, however, among people who were in the top fifth for plant-protein intake, compared to people in the bottom fifth.

They were also 29% less likely to die of heart disease, specifically.

The researchers calculated that if study participants had replaced 5% of their daily calories from animal protein for the same number of calories from plant protein, their odds of dying during that period would have dropped by nearly half.

The second study involved more than 43,000 health professionals, all men, who were followed for about 25 years. More than 4,100 suffered a heart attack at some point — with the risk inching up as daily red meat intake rose.

Again, replacing some of those burgers with plant foods could have made a huge difference for some men’s hearts, the researchers estimated — even with other factors, like exercise habits and body weight, taken into account.

Take nuts, for example. If the men had swapped one daily serving of red or processed meat for the same number of calories from nuts, their risk of a fatal heart attack could have been trimmed by 17%.

Swapping red meat for whole grains would have been even better, the study suggested — potentially lowering the risk of heart attack death by 48%.

Those are, however, just statistical calculations. Neither study proves cause and effect, noted Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

That said, the findings agree with a large body of existing evidence, Diekman pointed out.

“These studies add to the ever-growing number supporting the health benefits of consuming more plant-based proteins, reducing our animal protein intake …and enjoying more fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” she said.

Freeman also pointed to that bigger picture.

“Overall,” he said, “the evidence suggests that if you take some portion of the standard American diet and swap it out for more plant foods, people do better.”

Source: HealthDay

Study: Mammograms Not Helpful in Women 75 and Older

Julie Steenhuysen wrote . . . . . . . . .

Women 75 and older do not benefit from regular screening mammograms, researchers reported on Monday, offering some of the first evidence on whether screening makes sense in these women.

Although studies clearly show mammograms starting at age 50 prevent breast cancer deaths, until now, doctors have had little evidence about when to end screening, Dr. Otis Brawley of Johns Hopkins University and former chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, wrote in editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“The study is important because a third of all American women die of breast cancer are diagnosed after the age of 70,” Brawley said in a telephone interview.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which sets screening guidelines, currently states that the evidence is insufficient to assess the harms and benefits in women 75 and older. Recommendations by other groups vary.

As a result, some 52% of women in the United States aged 75 and older still get regular mammogram screening, according to the paper published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“A lot of women over 75 and 80 are receiving mammograms,” study author Dr. Xabier Garcia-De-Albeniz of the Harvard School of Public Health, RTI Health Solutions and Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a telephone interview.

Brawley said clinical trials cannot be done to provide that evidence because too many people are convinced of the benefits of mammography, and would consider withholding screening to be unethical.

Garcia-De-Albeniz and colleagues set out to provide that evidence using claims data from the federal Medicare insurance program for the elderly. They studied data on more than 1 million women aged 70 to 84 who underwent mammograms from 2000 to 2008. Women in the study had a life expectancy of at least 10 years and no prior breast cancer diagnosis.

They found that in women aged 70 to 74, the benefit of screening outweighed the risks, which can include overdiagnosis, overtreatment and the anxiety of a potential breast cancer diagnosis. In women 75 to 84, screening did not substantially reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.

The reason is likely that by 75, women are more likely to die from heart disease or neurological diseases such as dementia than breast cancer, the authors said.

Brawley said the findings underscore the need for more research to understand breast cancer in older women and better treatments for women in this age group.

Source: Reuters

For Older Adults, More Physical Activity Could Mean Longer, Healthier Lives

Two studies demonstrate that older adults may be able to live longer, healthier lives by increasing physical activity that doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2020. The EPI Scientific Sessions in Phoenix, is a premier global exchange of the latest advances in population-based cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

“Finding a way to physically move more in an activity that suits your capabilities and is pleasurable is extremely important for all people, and especially for older people who may have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Physical activities such as brisk walking can help manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol, improve glucose control among many benefits,” said Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D., past chair of both the American Heart Association’s Council on Physical Activity and Metabolism and the National Advocacy Committee, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, Michigan and professor of internal medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan.

Higher levels of light physical activity are associated with lower risk of death from any cause

Older adults were 67% less likely to die of any cause if they spent at least 150 minutes per week in moderate to vigorous physical activity – a goal recommended by the American Heart Association – compared to those who did not engage in more than 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

However, this investigation observed that, among the participants with an average age of 69, physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. The researchers observed that each 30-minute interval of light-intensity physical activities – such as doing household chores or casual walking – was associated with a 20% lower risk of dying from any cause. Conversely, every additional 30-minutes of being sedentary was related to a 32% higher risk of dying from any cause.

“Promoting light-intensity physical activity and reducing sedentary time may be a more practical alternative among older adults,” said Joowon Lee, Ph.D., a researcher at Boston University in Boston.

This investigation evaluated physical activity levels of 1,262 participants from the ongoing Framingham Offspring Study. Participants were an average age of 69 (54% women), and they were instructed to wear a device that objectively measured physical activity for at least 10 hours a day, for at least four days a week between 2011 and 2014.

The strengths of this investigation include its large sample size and the use of a wearable device to objectively measure physical activity. However, the participants of the Framingham Offspring Study are white, so it is unclear if these findings would be consistent for other racial groups.

Co-authors of the study are Nicole L. Spartano, Ph.D.; Ramachandran S. Vasan, M.D. and Vanessa Xanthakis Ph.D. Author disclosures are in the abstract.

This study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Every step counts in reducing cardiovascular disease deaths among older women

Women who walked 2,100 to 4,500 steps daily reduced their risk of dying from heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by up to 38%, compared to women who walked less than 2,100 daily steps. The women who walked more than 4,500 steps per day reduced their risk by 48%, in this study of over 6,000 women with an average age of 79.

The cardio-protective effect of more steps per day was present even after the researchers took into consideration heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides and/or blood sugar levels, and was not dependent on how fast the women walked.

“Despite popular beliefs, there is little evidence that people need to aim for 10,000 steps daily to get cardiovascular benefits from walking. Our study showed that getting just over 4,500 steps per day is strongly associated with reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease in older women,” said lead study author Andrea Z. LaCroix, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chief of epidemiology at the University of California, San Diego.

“Taking more steps per day, even just a few more, is achievable, and step counts are an easy-to-understand way to measure how much we are moving. There are many inexpensive wearable devices to choose from. Our research shows that older women reduce their risk of heart disease by moving more in their daily life, including light activity and taking more steps. Being up and about, instead of sitting, is good for your heart,” said LaCroix.

The study included more than 6,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative with an average age of 79 who wore an accelerometer on their waist to measure physical activity for seven days in a row; participants were followed for up to seven years for heart disease death.

This study was prospective, and half of the participants were African American or Hispanic. The use of an accelerometer to measure movement is a strength of the study. The study did not include men or people younger than 60, so it will be important for future research to examine step counts and other measures of daily activity across the adult age range among both men and women.

Source: American Heart Association

Today’s Comic