New Character Sweet of Lawson Japan

Minion Banana Cream Chinese Steamed Bun

The price is 216 yen including tax.

Your Next Doctor’s Prescription Might be to Spend Time in Nature

Michael Precker wrote . . . . . . . . .

Dr. Robert Zarr loves to write prescriptions that you don’t have to take to the pharmacy.

Instead, he sends patients outside to soak in the healing powers of nature, combining the benefits of exercise with the therapeutic effects of fresh air and green space.

“Going back millions of years, we’ve evolved outdoors,” said Zarr, a pediatrician who recently relocated to Ottawa, Canada, from Washington, D.C. “Why should we exist indoors? We need to be outdoors. The health benefits of being in nature are obvious.”

The idea isn’t new. The 16th century Swiss physician Paracelsus declared that “the art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician.” In Japan, public health experts promote shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, as a key to physical and psychological health.

The premise is backed up with science. A 2018 meta-analysis in the journal Environmental Research reviewed more than 140 studies and found exposure to green space was associated with wide-ranging health benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of diabetes, stroke, asthma, heart disease and overall death.

In a 2020 study in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers analyzed 14 studies involving college students and concluded that as little as 10 minutes of sitting or walking in natural settings reduced stress and improved mental health.

“There’s an increasing amount of evidence that time in nature as opposed to time in an indoor environment is beneficial,” said Donald Rakow, associate professor at Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science in Ithaca, New York, and one of the 2020 study’s authors. “Being out in nature is not going to solve every mental or physical condition, but it really can be part of an overall treatment approach.”

The Environmental Research analysis called for more studies to establish why nature promotes better health, but suggested several possibilities, including the benefits of sunlight, the idea that microorganisms in nature can strengthen our immune systems and the mere fact that being outside encourages physical activity.

Zarr didn’t need more convincing. What he wanted was a way to get doctors and their patients to take the health benefits of nature more seriously. So in 2017 he founded Park Rx America, a nonprofit that encourages health care professionals to incorporate nature into their treatment plans.

“Prescribing nature is not part of our training,” he said. “And then the environment we work in is often so sterile. Doctors don’t get much time outdoors during the day, so maybe it’s not on our minds.”

Why an actual prescription?

“It does make a difference,” Zarr said. “The likelihood of doing what you intend to do goes up when you write it down. And the Rx symbol is universal. It’s an easy way for people to relate.”

Park Rx America has signed up more than 1,000 health care providers and partnered with other organizations to promote the strategy. Its website provides a prescription template, but one size doesn’t fit all.

Rather than assign an activity and a location, Zarr and his colleagues ask patients what they can do and like to do, whether it’s sitting on a bench or running a marathon, before writing it up.

“If they say, ‘I see myself eating lunch outside,’ I say, ‘OK, let’s start there,'” he said. “It might be the only time they breathe fresh air. Over time we’ll change the prescription.”

At Cornell, where academic rigor leads to stress, the health clinic encourages students to spend more time outside and incorporate nature prescriptions into their electronic health records.

“It really makes a difference,” said Rakow, who co-directs a network of more than two dozen colleges around the country implementing similar programs. “Whether it’s an antibiotic or nature, people are much more inclined to follow up when they know that their health professional has prescribed it.”

Both experts are confident the trend is growing and that the bad effects of COVID-19 – more time indoors, anxiety, weight gain, to name a few – underscore the need and the desire to get outside.

“The pandemic really firmed up my opinions on this,” Zarr said. “It’s put a strain on everyone. We need to get out of the virtual world and go outdoors.”

Rakow hopes for an awakening similar to what he saw during the years he directed the Cornell Botanic Gardens.

“Each year at the reunions, alumni would visit and ask, ‘When did they build this?'” he said. “I would tell them, ‘It’s always been here.'”

Source: American Heart Association

Character Sweets of Family Mart Japan

Moomin (ムーミン) and Snufkin (スナフキン) Character Wagashi

The price is 398 yen (tax included) for a box of two.

FDA Reduces Recommended Salt Levels in Americans’ Food

Robin Foster, Robert Preidt and Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that it is lowering the recommended levels of sodium in processed, packaged and prepared foods.

The goal of the new, voluntary guideline is to help reduce Americans’ average sodium intake from 3,400 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg per day — roughly a 12% reduction — over the next 2.5 years.

“It’s really a pivotal day for the health of our nation as the FDA is announcing a critical step in our efforts to reduce the burden of diet-related chronic disease and advance health equity,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said during a media briefing announcing the new guideline.

“We as a nation face a growing epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, which disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority groups,” Woodcock added.

“As a result, thousands of lives are lost and billions of dollars spent in health care costs each year for these preventable illnesses. We also know that limiting certain nutrients such as sodium in our diet can play a huge role in helping to prevent diseases such as hypertension [high blood pressure], cardiovascular disease and renal [kidney] disease,” Woodcock said.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the new guideline, although not mandatory, should help all Americans become more healthy.

“These new recommendations and target by the FDA take this a step closer to improving health outcomes for all Americans,” he said during the media briefing. “It keeps Americans on track to stay healthier as we move forward. [The] human and economic costs [of] diet-related diseases are staggering. And hundreds of thousands of Americans are learning that the hard way, as they contract these chronic diseases, and they face the consequences of poor nutrition. So, it’s time for us to do much better.”

Despite the lowering of recommended sodium levels in processed and packaged products, it still does not meet U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended limit of 2,300 mg per day for those aged 14 and older, the FDA noted. Roughly 70% of added sodium in American diets comes from packaged, processed and restaurant foods, the agency noted.

The American Heart Association (AHA) applauded the FDA’s move, but said the agency needs to go further in the future.

“These targets will be an important driver to reduce sodium consumption, which can have significant health benefits and lead to lower medical costs,” the association said in a statement. “Lowering sodium levels in the food supply would reduce risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, heart attack and death in addition to saving billions of dollars in health care costs over the next decade. Many members of the food and restaurant industry have begun to reduce sodium in their products. We strongly encourage the industry as a whole to adopt these targets and build upon existing efforts to reduce sodium in their products and meals.”

Still, “lowering sodium intake to 3,000 mg per day is not enough. Lowering sodium further — to 2,300 mg — could prevent an estimated 450,000 cases of cardiovascular disease, gain 2 million quality-adjusted life years and save approximately $40 billion in health care costs over a 20-year period,” the AHA said.

“We urge the FDA to follow today’s action with additional targets to further lower the amount of sodium in the food supply and help people in America attain an appropriate sodium intake,” the association stated.

One nutritionist concurred.

“It is a first step, but we need to take a stronger stance,” said Sharon Zarabi, a registered dietician and program director for Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health in New York City and Westchester, N.Y.

“Most people believe they eat a low-sodium diet because they avoid use of the salt shaker. Little do they know that most of the sodium is lurking in every packaged food we consume. It serves as a flavor enhancer and preservative to increase shelf life. The effects are multifold, impacting our blood pressure, increasing our risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and increasing inflammation. Ever wonder why you feel so swollen after Chinese takeout or a bag of popcorn?” Zarabi said.

The FDA’s new guidance covers 163 categories of processed, packaged and prepared foods.

Woodcock pointed out that “research shows that people consume 50% more sodium than recommended. This includes our youngest and most vulnerable populations, with more than 95% of children aged 2 to 13 years old exceeding recommended limits of sodium for their age groups.”

She noted in an FDA news release: “A number of companies in the food industry have already made changes to sodium content in their products, which is encouraging, but additional support across all types of foods to help consumers meet recommended sodium limits is needed.”

Source: HealthDay

Dark Chocolate and Ricotta Mousse


1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
chopped parsley
8 fresh dates (160 g), pitted
1/2 cup milk
2 cups ricotta
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp chopped pistachios


  1. Stir syrup, cocoa, the water and extract in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Place chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the base of the bowl). Stir until melted and smooth.
  3. Process dates and milk in food processor until dates are finely chopped. Add ricotta and process until smooth. Add melted chocolate and process until mixture is well combined.
  4. Spoon mousse into six 3/4 cup serving glasses. Spoon cocoa syrup on mousse. Top with pomegranate seeds and nuts.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Everyday Power Foods

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