U.S. Company Launches “World’s First” Kelp Burger

US alt-meat brand AKUA has created what it claims is the first ever burger made from kelp. As well as ocean-farmed seaweed, it contains crimini mushrooms, pea protein, black beans, quinoa, and crushed tomatoes.

AKUA says the burger is a healthier and more sustainable alternative to meat burgers and existing veggie burgers. Kelp requires no fresh water, fertiliser, feed, or arable land, and it helps keep the oceans healthy by filtering carbon and nitrogen from the water.

It is also a rich source of nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, and K, as well as zinc, calcium, folate, potassium, and iron. The Kelp Burger is free of saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugar.

Currently, the burger is only retailing online, priced at $48.99 for a 12-pack. It is shipped frozen overnight in compostable packaging. It is also available at several restaurants in the US, including Honeybee Burger in Los Angeles, HULA’s in Monterey, and Central Provisions in Portland, ME.

AKUA isn’t the only company turning to seaweed to make more sustainable meat alternatives. In the Netherlands, The Dutch Weed Burger is making burgers with three different types of seaweed, while Plantruption has developed the Irish Sea Weed Burger in Ireland.

“The Kelp Burger is going to have a special place in the market for those looking to make a difference in the way they eat both for themselves, the Earth, and their local ocean farming economies right here in the U.S.,” said AKUA Co-Founder and CEO Courtney Boyd Myers. “We’re offering something better than a fake meat burger or a boring veggie burger, and we can’t wait for consumers to taste the difference.”

Source: vegconomist

What You Need for Healthy Bones

Veronika Charvátová wrote . . . . . . . . .

Your bones are like living cities, always rebuilding and repairing themselves and exchanging materials with their environment – discover what they need to stay strong!

Your skeleton gives your body its shape, houses and protects your organs, gives your muscles something to cling to and stores minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. In the centre of your bones (some of them) is red bone marrow which is responsible for producing blood cells so your skeleton is much more than just a collection of bones – it is a living network of cells, protein fibres, minerals and blood vessels.

As bones grow, become worn or suffer minor damage from physical activity, they are constantly repaired. Damaged bits are cleared away and new bone is built in the gaps. This allows bones to adapt to the changing demands placed on them. For example, if you start a new sport that puts unusual pressure on your bones, their architecture will slightly rebuild to make them better suited to the new challenges.

Calcium

There’s no denying that we need calcium for healthy bones – it is the most abundant mineral in your body and some 99 per cent of it is in your skeleton. The rest floats around in the blood and is used by your muscles, nerves and for many biochemical reactions. We need around 700 milligrams of calcium a day and the best plant sources are almonds, sesame seeds and tahini, chia seeds, beans, calcium-set tofu (that’s most of the tofu on the market), dried figs, oranges, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, plant milk fortified with calcium and some fortified breakfast cereals.

The recommended daily dose is achievable entirely through diet. If you take a multivitamin supplement that contains calcium, that can contribute a little but you should not take a high-dose calcium supplement as intakes of over 2,000 milligrams a day may be dangerous.

Anything that can affect calcium levels in the body – food, lifestyle or medication – has an impact on your bones. If you lose more calcium than you’re receiving, over time it can result in bone loss leading to osteopenia (the forerunner to osteoporosis) and it can happen at any age. So, it’s easy to ensure you get sufficient calcium but how do you make sure you’re not flushing it out of your system at the same time? How can that possibly happen?

If your diet includes animal protein from meat and dairy, during digestion it produces acid and your body has to neutralise it as maintaining an acid-alkaline balance is essential to it. If there isn’t sufficient calcium readily available in your blood and muscles, bone calcium may be extracted and used. And this is where plant-based diets win big-time! They don’t cause this acid imbalance in the first place because of all the alkaline salts contained in fruit and vegetables and other wholesome plant foods rendering neutralising unnecessary. What’s more, they provide many nutrients that bones need. This marks a sharp distinction between foods from animals and foods from plant sources – animal protein may damage bones while plant protein protects them.

Having said that, a plant-based diet isn’t always great for your bones as sugary and processed foods, fizzy drinks, caffeine and high salt intakes can cause calcium loss. If your staples are biscuits, chips, pot-noodles, sweets and coke, your bones may be in trouble. If you’re also a smoker, it gets worse as smoking reduces calcium absorption from food. Luckily, all this is easily remedied with diet and lifestyle changes.

One more important point – you cannot utilise calcium without vitamin D…

Vitamin D

This vitamin is essential for calcium absorption but also helps to keep it in the body and regulates calcium blood levels. In spring and summer, we mostly get vitamin D through exposing our unprotected skin to sunlight, which triggers vitamin D production in the body. Fair-skinned people need about 15-20 minutes of face and arms exposure, two to three times a week but the darker your skin, the longer the exposure you need. About 30-40 minutes should be sufficient for most dark-skinned people.

Of course, there is a problem – in autumn and winter, we not only cover up more than in the summer but the sun doesn’t shine as strongly and therefore we don’t make enough vitamin D as a result. That’s why it’s recommended that everyone, regardless of diet, takes a vitamin D supplement from October to April. People who always wear a sunscreen, cover up or work indoors should take a supplement throughout the year.

Vitamin D is so important that even if you have plenty of calcium in your diet, you won’t be able to use it properly without this essential vitamin. The consequences are extremely serious, possibly resulting in rickets or osteomalacia – softening of the bones. A supplement providing 10 micrograms (400 IU) is sufficient for most people and you should never go above 100 micrograms as high doses can be toxic.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and teeth but that’s not where the story ends. We also need it for a strong immune system and having healthy vitamin D levels has been shown to lower your risk of depression, cognitive decline, cancer, heart disease and diabetes – so make sure you get enough!

Pamper your bones

To be healthy, your bones need a wide range of nutrients – more than simply calcium and vitamin D! They also need vitamins A, C, K and the B group as well as minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, selenium, boron, iron, copper and zinc. A wholesome plant-based diet provides all these if it’s centred around fruits and vegetables, pulses, wholegrains, nuts and seeds with the obligatory supplement top-ups of vitamins D and B12. A word of caution – alcohol consumption is bad for bones so go easy on it!

Bones respond to how they are used so physical activity is also a key player. Any weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, running, dancing, yoga, ball games, gym classes or even gardening, stimulates your bones and makes them stronger while sedentary lifestyle can weaken them. Unfortunately, swimming or cycling don’t count because you’re not carrying your full body weight so if these are your thing, complement them with another activity.

If you treat your bones right, they will stay strong well into old age – feed them the good stuff, move them about, don’t smoke and you’ll reap the rewards!

Source: Viva!

In Pictures: Food of Vegan Restaurants in London, U.K. (2)

A Healthier Heart Might Make You Smarter

Serena McNiff wrote . . . . . . . . .

In new evidence that illustrates that health issues rarely exist in a vacuum, a new study finds a link between heart health and brain function.

Existing evidence suggests that having heart disease raises one’s risk of dementia, and vice versa, but a team of researchers based in London wanted to find out if this connection could be seen in a healthier population.

For the study, nearly 30,000 mostly healthy adults in the United Kingdom had MRI scans to assess their heart health. The participants also completed thinking (“cognitive”) tests, measuring their ability to solve logic and reason-based problems, and showing how fast the brain processes information. Performing well on these tests is associated with better brain function.

The results revealed that those who excelled on the cognitive tests were more likely to have a healthier heart than those who tested poorly, said study co-author Nicholas Harvey, a professor of rheumatology and clinical epidemiology at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

“We found that better scores for the two cognitive tests that we used, indicating better brain function, were associated with heart measures, from the cardiac [MRI] scans, which indicated a healthier heart,” Harvey said. “Thus, having a healthy brain is associated with having a healthy heart, and vice versa.”

The study was published online in the European Heart Journal — Cardiovascular Imaging.

Risk factors such as age, smoking, high blood pressure, alcohol intake and exercise level can affect one’s risk of developing problems such as heart disease and dementia. Thus, it was important to determine if these factors were responsible for the brain-heart connection or if these organs were independently associated.

However, even after accounting for these risk factors, the relationship between heart health and brain function held steady, suggesting that some other mechanism may be responsible.

“Importantly, the association was not explained by classical risk factors for heart disease or dementia, which suggests that there may be a biological link between the two conditions, separate from the contribution to both conditions from these risk factors,” Harvey said.

While the potential mechanisms linking heart and brain health are not fully mapped out, it is clear that these systems are tightly connected, said Dr. Joseph Diamond, director of nuclear cardiology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“There are a lot of nerves from the brain directly to the heart, and we know there’s a strong connection between the two,” Diamond said.

According to Diamond, stress is a prime example of a health problem that has a cascading effect on different systems in the body, including the heart and brain.

“When you are dealing with individuals who have chronic stress or chronic anxiety issues, it affects a lot of parts of the body,” Diamond said. He explained how many of the different hormones released in response to stress can provoke an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

“We think that a lot of people who have chronic elevations of stress hormones may have more tendency to have atrial fibrillation [an irregular heart rate], and it may be an independent risk factor for heart disease,” he said.

In light of the increasing burden of age-related problems such as heart disease and dementia, learning more about the complex causes of these diseases is essential, Harvey said.

“Our findings are highly relevant in an ever-aging global population,” Harvey said. “Understanding links between these diseases enables us to optimize our assessment of older people and to potentially develop new therapies, which will target common mechanisms of aging.”

Source: HealthDay

Romaine Caesar Gratin

Ingredients

2 large egg yolks
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
4 jumbo romaine lettuce hearts
8 ounces (3 cups packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. In a blender or mini food processor, combine the egg yolks, garlic, mustard and lemon juice and puree at medium speed while slowly drizzling in the olive oil, until it is fully incorporated and the dressing resembles a pourable mayonnaise. Stir in the salt. Taste, and season with more salt, if needed.
  2. Position a rack in the highest position in the oven and turn on the broiler.
  3. Trim off the barest slice of the browned end of each romaine heart, making sure to keep the core intact. Halve each romaine heart lengthwise.
  4. Lay out the romaine halves, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Brush each half with the dressing, making sure that it gets between the leaves. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. (It may seem like way too much cheese, especially if you grated the cheese with a microplane so it’s incredibly fluffy, but it works.)
  5. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Grind black pepper over the top and serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: The Washington Post


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