Starchy Snacks May Increase CVD Risk; Fruits and Veggies at Certain Meals Decreases Risk

Can starchy snacks harm heart health? New research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association, found eating starchy snacks high in white potato or other starches after any meal was associated at least a 50% increased risk of mortality and a 44-57% increased risk of CVD-related death. Conversely, eating fruits, vegetables or dairy at specific meals is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer or any cause.

“People are increasingly concerned about what they eat as well as when they eat,” said Ying Li, Ph.D., lead study author and professor in the department of nutrition and food hygiene at Harbin Medical University School of Public Health in Harbin, China. “Our team sought to better understand the effects different foods have when consumed at certain meals.”

Li and colleagues analyzed the results of 21,503 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 to 2014 in the U.S. to assess dietary patterns across all meals. Among the study population, 51% of participants were women and all participants were ages 30 or older at the start of the study. To determine patient outcomes, researchers used the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Death Index to note participants who died through December 31, 2015, due to CVD, cancer or any cause.

Researchers categorized participants’ dietary patterns by analyzing what types of food they ate at different meals. For the main meals, three main dietary patterns were identified for the morning meal: Western breakfast, starchy breakfast and fruit breakfast. Western lunch, vegetable lunch and fruit lunch were identified as the main dietary patterns for the mid-day meal. Western dinner, vegetable dinner and fruit dinner were identified as the main dietary patterns for the evening meal.

For snacks, grain snack, starchy snack, fruit snack and dairy snack were identified as the main snack patterns in between meals. Additionally, participants who did not fit into specific meal patterns were analyzed as a reference group. The researchers noted that the Western dietary pattern has higher proportions of fat and protein, which is similar to many North American meals.

Participants in the Western lunch group consumed the most servings of refined grain, solid fats, cheese, added sugars and cured meat. Participants in the fruit-based lunch group consumed the most servings of whole grain, fruits, yogurt and nuts. Participants in the vegetable-based dinner group consumed the most servings of dark vegetables, red and orange vegetables, tomatoes, other vegetables and legumes. Participants who consumed starchy snacks consumed the most servings of white potatoes.

According to their findings:

  • Eating a Western lunch (typically containing refined grains, cheese, cured meat) was associated with a 44% increased risk of CVD death;
  • Eating a fruit-based lunch was associated with a 34% reduced risk of CVD death;
  • Eating a vegetable-based dinner was associated with a 23% and 31% reduction in CVD and all-cause mortality, respectively; and
  • Consuming a snack high in starch after any meal was associated with a 50-52% increased risk of all-cause mortality and a 44-57% increased risk in CVD-related mortality.

“Our results revealed that the amount and the intake time of various types of foods are equally critical for maintaining optimal health,” said Li. “Future nutrition guidelines and interventional strategies could integrate optimal consumption times for foods across the day.”

Limitations to this study include that dietary data was self-reported by participants, which may lead to recall bias. And, although the researchers controlled for potential confounders, other unmeasured confounding factors cannot be ruled out.

Source: American Heart Association

New Summer Menu of Kirby Café in Japan

Mold a Big Threat to People With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Exposure to mold both in and out of the home may worsen breathlessness and other symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), new research suggests.

More than 16 million Americans have COPD, according to the American Lung Association. COPD is an umbrella term for chronic lung diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema, which literally take your breath away. COPD flares can be triggered by exposure to pollution, dust, cigarette smoke, mold and other airway irritants.

“Patients with COPD had significantly more flares of their disease requiring visits to their doctor and/or antibiotics if they reported activities that put them at risk of exposure to mold, including vacuuming their homes frequently,” said study author Dr. Chris Kosmidis. He is a senior lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of Manchester in England.

In the study, 140 people with COPD answered questions about possible exposure to mold, visits to their doctor for COPD flares, and how many times they needed antibiotics to treat such flares during the past year.

Folks who vacuumed their home more than once a week were four times more likely to visit a doctor for COPD symptoms at least four times in the previous year. When you vacuum up mold, the spores may pass through the filter and be released into the air, the researchers said.

Also, those who didn’t ask visitors to their home to take their shoes off were more than three times as likely to see a doctor for COPD symptoms at least four times during the previous year.

These people were also more likely to require more than four doses antibiotics to treat their COPD flares during the past year.

There are steps to take to reduce mold exposure to mold, Kosmidis said.

“Opening windows often to allow room ventilation may help, including during and after vacuuming,” he said. Properly maintaining the vacuum cleaner and emptying it when full may also cut down on mold exposure, and always ask guests to take their shoes off before they enter your home so they don’t track mold in with them, Kosmidis said.

Other potential exposures to mold at home are pets, air humidifiers, carpets or drying clothes indoors, but these were not associated with COPD flares in the new study.

Outdoors, gardening, composting or living close to farms or industrial sites can also lead to mold exposure, Kosmidis said. People who lived within a mile of industrial composting sites were more likely to need antibiotics to treat COPD flares in the previous year, the study found.

Individuals who worked in agriculture were also more likely to see their doctor for COPD flares or need antibiotics, although most study participants were no longer working.

The main culprit appears to be aspergillus, a mold found in air conditioning, damp walls and ceilings, and decaying vegetation or composts. Exposure to aspergillus can also lead to chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA), a serious but rare lung disease. Participants in the study were twice as likely to have CPA if they lived within a mile of a farm or agricultural area. Sixty of the 140 people in the study had CPA and COPD.

The study was published in the journal Pulmonology.

One U.S. expert not part of the study outlined ways to prevent COPD outbreaks.

“Taking your medication as directed, exercising to the limit that you can, keeping up with vaccines and not smoking can help prevent COPD flares,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

There are plenty of COPD triggers besides mold, he added.

“High-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters are a great way to keep your air clean,” Horovitz noted. These filters can remove allergens, dander, chemicals, pollen and dust and other potential triggers that can cause COPD to flare, he said. HEPA filters can also trap mold.

Getting rid of mold in your walls can be a bit trickier. “You may need to call in the pros,” Horovitz said. “You can’t just throw bleach at it. You may have to excavate and rebuild.”

Source: HealthDay

Salmon Burger


1 pound skinless wild salmon fillet
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tsp peanut oil
4 whole wheat buns
4 tomato slices
1-1/2 cups baby greens


  1. Remove and discard any bones from salmon, then cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. In a food processor, pulse salmon just until finely chopped (do not over-process).
  3. Transfer salmon to a medium bowl. Add mustard, mayonnaise, chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper; stir to combine.
  4. Form mixture into four 3-1/2-inch patties. Generously sprinkle one side of each patty with sesame seeds.
  5. Brush peanut oil over bottom of a large nonstick skillet to coat evenly. Place skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Place burgers seed side down in skillet. Cook until sesame seeds brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes, reducing heat slightly, if necessary. With a spatula, gently turn burgers over and cook just until opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.
  7. Transfer salmon burgers to buns, and top with tomato slices and greens before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Oprah Magazine Cookbook

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