New Maritozzo of Bakeries in Japan

“Kero Tozzo” of Aoyagi Sohonke

“Mochitozzo” of Yamawaki Sangetsudo

“Ironeko Maritozzo” of Blue Jin

Growing Evidence of Vitamin K Benefits for Heart Health

People who ate a diet high in vitamin K1 (found in leafy green vegetables) were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalised with cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis.

New Edith Cowan University (ECU) research has found that people who eat a diet rich in vitamin K have up to a 34 percent lower risk of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels).

Researchers examined data from more than 50,000 people taking part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health study over a 23-year period. They investigated whether people who ate more foods containing vitamin K had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries).

There are two types of vitamin K found in foods we eat: vitamin K1 comes primarily from green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils while vitamin K2 is found in meat, eggs and fermented foods such as cheese.

The study found that people with the highest intakes of vitamin K1 were 21 percent less likely to be hospitalised with cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis.

For vitamin K2, the risk of being hospitalised was 14 percent lower.

This lower risk was seen for all types of heart disease related to atherosclerosis, particularly for peripheral artery disease at 34 percent.

ECU researcher and senior author on the study Dr Nicola Bondonno said the findings suggest that consuming more vitamin K may be important for protection against atherosclerosis and subsequent cardiovascular disease.

“Current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate,” she said.

“However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis.

“Although more research is needed to fully understand the process, we believe that vitamin K works by protecting against the calcium build-up in the major arteries of the body leading to vascular calcification.”

University of Western Australia researcher Dr Jamie Bellinge, the first author on the study, said the role of vitamin K in cardiovascular health and particularly in vascular calcification is an area of research offering promising hope for the future.

“Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in Australia and there’s still a limited understanding of the importance of different vitamins found in food and their effect on heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease,” Dr Bellinge said.

“These findings shed light on the potentially important effect that vitamin K has on the killer disease and reinforces the importance of a healthy diet in preventing it.”

Next steps in the research

Dr Bondonno said that while databases on the vitamin K1 content of foods are very comprehensive, there is currently much less data on the vitamin K2 content of foods. Furthermore, there are 10 forms of vitamin K2 found in our diet and each of these may be absorbed and act differently within our bodies.

“The next phase of the research will involve developing and improving databases on the vitamin K2 content of foods.

“More research into the different dietary sources and effects of different types of vitamin K2 is a priority,” Dr Bondonno said.

Additionally, there is a need for an Australian database on the vitamin K content of Australian foods (e.g. vegemite and kangaroo).

To address this need, Dr Marc Sim, a collaborator on the study, has just finished developing an Australian database on the vitamin K content of foods which will be published soon.

The paper ‘Vitamin K intake and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health Study’ was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Source: Edith Cowan University

In Pictures: Food of Kam’s Roast Goose (甘牌燒鵝) in Wan Chia, Hong Kong

Casual Dining Cantonese Cuisine

The Michelin 1-star Restaurant

How a Doctor’s Presence May Alter Blood Pressure Readings

Michael Merschel wrote . . . . . . . . .

A doctor’s presence during a blood pressure reading triggers a “fight or flight” response that can affect the results, say researchers who studied the effect by measuring nerve activity.

“White coat hypertension” – the phenomenon when blood pressure rises in some people who are measured by a medical professional – has been known about for decades. It occurs in about a third of people with high blood pressure.

In a small study published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, Italian researchers examined the effect’s roots by measuring blood pressure, heart rate and nerve traffic in the skin and muscles with and without a doctor present.

The researchers found a “drastic reduction” in the body’s alarm response when a doctor was not present, said co-lead author Dr. Guido Grassi, professor of internal medicine at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Milan.

An increase in blood pressure and heart rate is part of the body’s reaction to a perceived threat, said Dr. Meena Madhur, associate professor of medicine in the divisions of clinical pharmacology and cardiology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

“If you’re out in the wild and a bear was charging after you, you’d want your blood vessels in your skin, for example, to constrict and the blood vessels in your muscles to dilate to provide more blood flow to those organs so that you can run really fast,” said Madhur, who also is associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation. She was not involved in the new research.

The study included 18 people, 14 of them men, with mild to moderately high blood pressure that was not being treated. Each participant was examined in a lab, where an electrode measured nerve activity in the skin and muscles.

Readings were taken twice in the presence of a doctor and twice without.

In the doctor’s presence, both blood pressure and heart rate rose, and nerve traffic patterns to the skin and skeletal muscle suggested a classic fight or flight reaction.

By contrast, when readings were taken without a doctor present, cardiovascular and neural responses were “strikingly different,” the researchers wrote. Indications of the fight or flight response were “entirely absent”.

Peak systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading, a measure of the pressure against the artery walls when the heart beats) was, on average, about 14 points lower when the participant was alone than when a doctor was present. Being alone also lowered the peak heart rate by nearly 11 beats per minute.

This was the first study to document changes in the sympathetic nervous system – which regulates the fight or flight response – in relation to whether a doctor was overseeing a blood pressure measurement, the researchers wrote.

The findings highlight the complexity of blood pressure measurements and how they are affected by involuntary reactions of the nervous system, Grassi said. “Measurements without the doctor’s presence may better reflect true blood pressure values.”

Although the concept of white coat hypertension is not new, Madhur said, “this just drives home the fact that we should be more conscious of how the blood pressure is taken in the clinic.”

The American Medical Association and AHA issued a joint report last year that endorsed more self-measurement of blood pressure at home.

The complexity of the testing kept the size of the study small, researchers said. They also said follow-up research would need to look at the effect of blood pressure medication. That’s because such medications could affect the fight or flight response, Madhur said.

She said the work should be repeated with more women to examine possible sex differences. And she’d be interested in seeing whether people have the same response to nurses and other medical professionals as they did to doctors in this study.

Grassi said earlier work shows the white coat effect is less pronounced when nurses take blood pressure measurements.

Overall, Madhur said, this latest research drives home the need for people to handle blood pressure measurements with care.

“I always tell my patients that we really can’t rely on a single office blood pressure measurement, because that’s just a random point in time,” she said.

To take an accurate reading at home, be sure to sit still, with your back straight and supported and your feet on the floor, and wait at least a few minutes before recording your blood pressure, Madhur said. Take multiple readings over the course of a week, at the same time each day, and bring that log to your doctor’s appointment.

Those at-home readings should be the ones used for planning treatment, she said.

“But,” Madhur added, “if we are going to do an office blood pressure reading, it should be taken with the doctor not in the room.”

Source: American Heart Association

Char Siu

Ingredients

1-1/2 lb center-cut pork loin, trimmed
2 tablespoons maltose or honey, dissolved with a little water

Marinade

1 tablespoon rock sugar
1 tablespoon yellow bean sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fermented red bean curd
1 tablespoon Chinese spirit (Mou Tai) or brandy
1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

Method

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients. Cut the pork into 4 x 8 inch strips, add to the marinade and keep in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  3. Put a baking dish filled with 2-1/2 cups boiling water in the bottom of the oven.
  4. Drain the pork, reserving the marinade. Put an S-shaped meat hook through one end of each strip and hang from the top rack.
  5. Roast for 10-15 minutes, then baste with the marinade. Reduce the heat to 350°F and roast for 8-10 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes, then brush with the maltose and lightly brown under a broiler for 4-5 minutes, turning to give a charred look around the edges.
  6. Cut the meat into slices.
  7. Pour 3/4 cup liquid from the baking dish into the marinade. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Strain and pour over the pork.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Food of China


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