Petit Cup Dessert

Almond Tofu and Puddings with Fruits

Each dessert is about 80 g. A box of 12 cups is sold for 2,200 yen (tax included) in Japan.

Research Reveals How Aspirin Helps Prevent Colon Cancer

New research offers insight into why regular, long-term use of low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of death from colon and rectal cancers.

Resarchers found that aspirin prevents blood cells called platelets from producing an enzyme that allows them to clump together. Tumor cells can attach to these clumps and spread (metastasize) throughout the body.

“Aspirin inhibits platelet activation, which also could inhibit metastases,” said lead author Jane Figueiredo, director of Community and Population Health Research at the Samuel Oschin Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The use of non-aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen wasn’t associated with better outcomes.

For the study, Figueiredo’s team analyzed data from more than 2,500 colon and rectal cancer patients in the United States.

Timing of the aspirin use appears to be critical, according to the study. Patients who used it for at least 15 months before being diagnosed with localized colon or rectal cancer were less likely to see their tumor spread.

“More evidence is needed, but this association between baby aspirin and lower death rates is highly significant,” Figueiredo said in a Cedars-Sinai news release.

At the same time, while patients who began taking aspirin after their cancer diagnosis had better outcomes than those who didn’t take aspirin, the difference was not significant, the study found.

“These findings may provide an inexpensive lifestyle option to people seeking to prevent colorectal cancer, or to improve their prognoses if they are diagnosed,” Figueiredo said.

She noted that ongoing clinical trials are examining how aspirin use before and after a diagnosis of colon or rectal cancer affects survival.

“We have to wait until those results come out,” Figueiredo said. “There are potential harms associated with aspirin use.” Daily use may increase the risk of allergic reactions and internal bleeding.

“There really needs to be a conversation between clinicians and patients about both the risks and benefits,” Figueiredo said. “These studies and our results really add to that conversation.”

The findings were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Colon and rectal cancers are the third-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths, contributing to an estimated 53,000 deaths last year.

About 104,600 cases of colon cancer and 43,300 cases of rectal cancer were diagnosed in the United States last year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Source: HealthDay

In Pictures: Food of Zuicho (瑞兆) in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Fine Dining Japanese Cuisine

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant

The Secret to Good Health Is No Secret. So Why Is It so Hard to Achieve?

It ought to be a no-brainer, so to speak: Research has pinpointed seven ways people can achieve ideal heart and brain health. And – bonus – if Americans did those things, they also could help prevent many other chronic illnesses.

But most people don’t, at least not consistently. What’s stopping them?

“Most of these steps require a great deal of self-regulation and self-control,” said Dolores Albarracin, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It’s not just getting one thing done, like going to get a vaccine, where you can do it and forget about it for a year.”

Volumes of research point to at least seven behaviors, called Life’s Simple 7, that can dramatically lower the burden of heart disease, stroke and dementia. Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in a healthy range have the potential to collectively wipe out a vast majority of heart disease and stroke and prevent or delay a significant number of dementias.

Failing to take these steps increases the risk for chronic illness of all types. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 in 10 adults in the United States have at least one chronic illness, while 4 in 10 have two or more. In addition to illnesses of the heart and brain, these include cancer, lung disease, kidney disease and diabetes.

“If it were simple, heart disease event rates would be down by 80% since roughly 80% of heart disease is preventable,” as are 80% of strokes, said Dr. Roger Blumenthal, the Kenneth Jay Pollin Professor of Cardiology and director of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Baltimore. Blumenthal is co-author of a joint report by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology on the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Part of the problem, said Blumenthal, is the pace of modern life and the number of responsibilities people already are juggling.

“It’s hard for people to stay motivated in the society in which we live and to make time for things like exercise,” he said. “We have to repackage all the knowledge we have and put it into actionable, shorter messages and provide resources that motivate people.”

Blumenthal recommends breaking down goals into smaller actions that feel achievable. For example, if finding large blocks of time to exercise seems too hard, he advises people to weave 10-minute exercise breaks throughout their day.

Likewise, with weight loss. “Ask yourself where you can cut out 300-400 calories a day. Decrease portion sizes. Slow down your pace of eating.”

People often have greater success with taking medication to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, Blumenthal said.

“It’s easier for people to take a pill after they’ve brushed their teeth in the morning than making the sustained efforts and setting aside 20-minute sessions for brisk activities or exercising more control over dietary choices.”

But even that isn’t always simple.

Inadequate health insurance or lack of access to care can make it difficult for people to take medications regularly, said Dr. Tracy Madsen, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. These inequities are most prevalent among those from marginalized racial and ethnic groups who often bear the biggest burden of disease.

“Across the United States, Black and Hispanic communities are dealing with a disproportionate burden of economic instability,” she said, which has been heightened by the pandemic. “People who lose their jobs and then their insurance have no way to pay for needed medications.”

They also may face other inequities, such as a lack of easy access to recreational space or convenient, affordable places to buy healthy foods.

Another big reason people struggle is many steps toward better health involve cutting out, or cutting back, pleasurable activities, Albarracin said.

“You’re not asking people to simply incorporate a new habit, you’re also asking them to fight something that has been quite rewarding in the past,” she said. “We eat yummy foods because they are yummy.”

Albarracin led a study published in Health Psychology Review that analyzed 150 research reports about healthy behavior change. It found people were more likely to succeed in making changes if they stuck to one of two similar actions – focusing on things they needed to do or things they needed to stop doing – but not both.

“The way our psychological makeup works is we tend to be in action mode or inaction mode,” she said. “Exercising more and eating more vegetables are both actions moving in the same direction, versus exercising more and eating less fat, which is one positive thing and one negative thing.”

It’s also easier for people to make changes in two associated activities, she said. For example, people who smoke may do so when they are drinking alcohol. In that case, it’s easier to quit doing both than just one, because one triggers the other.

Changing behavior can require reframing thinking and goals, Albarracin said.

“There are ways to use questions to stop yourself. If you’re at a restaurant and the server brings a tray of desserts and asks you which one you want, ask yourself instead if you should be eating dessert at all. Introduce the idea of ‘no’ being an answer.”

Another skill is to make lists of things to stop doing instead of things to do, she said. “We need to start learning how to reframe our goals. We are used to thinking in terms of being rewarded for what we do, not what we don’t do.”

In the end, making structural changes can be more effective than solely relying on willpower. For example, “if I have to walk to work, that’s going to introduce more exercise into my life and will be much more successful than betting on willpower,” Albarracin said. “Sometimes you have to outsmart yourself by removing some of your choices.”

Source: American Heart Association

Deep-fried Bamboo Shoots with Dried Bonito Flakes

Ingredients

1 egg
6-inch takenoko (fresh bamboo shoots) or vacuum-packed boiled whole bamboo shoot
2 tablespoons bai niku (salted plum paste)
1-1/2 cups kezuri bushi (dried bonito flakes)
6 cups vegetable oil
8 kinome (young sansho leaves), to garnish

Method

  1. Beat the egg in a bowl large enough for dipping the bamboo shoot slices.
  2. Slice the bamboo shoot lengthwise into 4 wedges. Make a lengthwise incision on the thick part of the wedge, about 1/2-inch deep. Using a knife, spread the salted plum paste into this incision.
  3. Put the bonito shavings in a saucepan over low heat and crumple them with your hands so they dry further and break into fine pieces. Place in a flat container large enough to roll the bamboo shoot slices.
  4. Pour the vegetable oil in a saucepan and heat to 325°F (160°C). Dip the bamboo shoot wedges into the egg and coat evenly. Next, coat each wedge evenly with the bonito shavings, then carefully slip into the oil and deep-fry. Turn the bamboo shoots occasionally so that they are fried evenly. When nicely browned, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon. Gently shake above the pan to remove any excess oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh kinome leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Shunju – New Japanese Cuisine


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