U.S. Health Official Says COVID-19 Boosters Could Risk More Serious Side Effects

Carl O’donnell and Manojna Maddipatla wrote . . . . . . . . .

The United States is reviewing the need for a third COVID-19 booster shot among residents who have already been vaccinated but needs to see more data to know if additional shots could raise people’s risk of serious side effects, a U.S. health official said.

The official said the second dose for two-shot COVID-19 vaccine regimens was associated with higher rates of side effects, suggesting a third dose could potentially come with even greater risks.

“We’re keenly interested in knowing whether or not a third dose may be associated with any higher risk of adverse reactions, particularly some of those more severe – although very rare – side effects,” said Jay Butler, deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during a media briefing.

The U.S. government has not made a decision on whether to administer booster shots but sees a greater potential need for them among the elderly and other groups at high risk for severe infection, Butler said.

Pfizer and partner BioNTech have asked U.S. regulators to authorize a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.

Butler said he has not seen any evidence of waning immunity to COVID-19 among U.S residents who received shots in December or January.

He added that existing shots provide significant protection against the Delta variant of COVID-19, which was first found in India and has become the dominant strain in the United States.

Source: Reuters

Whole Grains Every Day: Key to Your Health and Waistline

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Whole grains can help older adults maintain a thinner waist, lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar, new research suggests.

Just three servings a day may do the trick, the authors said.

One serving is a slice of whole-grain bread, a half-cup of rolled oat cereal, or a half-cup of brown rice.

Researchers noted that their study — partially funded by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition — doesn’t prove that whole grains are protective, only that there appears to be a link between them and waist size, blood pressure and blood sugar.

“These are all risk factors that can contribute to the development of heart disease if not maintained at healthy levels,” said study co-author Nicola McKeown of the Nutritional Epidemiology Team at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston.

The researchers used data from a health study of residents in Framingham, Mass., which started in 1948. They looked at health outcomes linked to whole and refined grains in the diets of more than 3,100 participants. Data was collected every four years over a median follow-up of 18 years. (Median means half were followed longer, half for less time.)

The new study compared changes in five heart disease risk factors — blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides and waist size — with reported intake of whole grains. Researchers examined effects of eating less than a half-serving to three or more a day.

The upshot: People who ate few whole gains gained an inch around the waist every four years — compared to a half-inch among those who ate the most whole grains.

Participants who ate fewer whole grains also saw bigger increases in blood pressure and blood sugar than those who ate the most whole grains.

While whole grain intake was also associated with improvements in blood levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol, as well as triglycerides, the findings were not significant, researchers added.

For waist size, blood pressure and blood sugar, the greatest benefit came from having three to four servings of whole grains a day.

Most whole grains came from whole wheat breads and ready-to-eat cereals. Refined grains were mostly pasta and white bread.

McKeown said whole grains probably help prevent adverse changes in risk factors studied in several ways, but the mechanisms aren’t yet known.

“For instance, in terms of helping prevent gain in body fat, the benefits may be related to the fiber in whole grains, which can help to prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes, help us to feel full so that we might eat a little less, or even feed our healthy gut microbes,” she said.

Other nutrients found in whole grains, such as magnesium, may help with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

“And then we have the many phytochemicals found in whole grains that may act alone or in synergy with other nutrients to help maintain our health as we age,” McKeown said. “This is still a very active area of research.”

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, was not part of the study but reviewed the findings. She said whole grains have many benefits.

“Fiber-rich foods like whole grains provide a plethora of healthy compounds like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” Heller said. “Research has found that whole grains help reduce body weight and low-grade inflammation, manage blood sugar, reduce the risk of certain cancers and keep the gastrointestinal tract running smoothly.”

But, Heller said, the typical Western diet consists primarily of refined grains, such as white bread, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries. These refined grains have been found to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and even a decline in memory and thinking skills, she added.

The good news: Adding more whole grains to the diet is easier than you might think.

“Consumers may be surprised to realize that foods like tortilla chips, shredded wheat, oatmeal, whole wheat tortillas and whole-grain crackers all count as whole grains,” Heller said.

She said shoppers can look for the Whole Grain Council’s “Whole Grain” stamp on product labels. It identifies how many grams of whole grains are in a product.

The findings were published online in the Journal of Nutrition.

Source: HealthDay

Rice with Pork Chops and Onion


6 slices pork chops (about 1-1/3 lb)
3 cups onion, shredded
1/2 cups green peas
1/2 cup button mushrooms
1 hot red pepper, shredded
6 bowls hot cooked rice


2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch


4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken broth mix
1 cup water

Thickening Solution

1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water


  1. Cut off ends from onions. Cut in half, remove skin. Remove inner layers from each half. Cut into shred.
  2. Using blunt end of cleaver, pound pork chops lightly to tenderize. Mix with marinade ingredients and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Heat wok with 3 tbsp oil, fry pork chops on each side until golden brown, remove.
  4. Reheat oil in the wok, stir-fry onion until translucent. Add peas, mushroom, and pepper. Mix in the sauce ingredients. Stir-fry briefly.
  5. Return pork chops to wok and cook for 4 minutes until done.
  6. Add thickening solution and cook until the sauce thickens.
  7. Place rice on 6 serving plates. Put pork chops and sauce over rice and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Chinese Snacks

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