Sumikko Gurashi Character Donuts of Floresta Japan

The price for the donut is 520 yen each and 690 yen for the donut balls set. The price included tax.

Sumikko Gurashi (すみっコぐらし) Characters

 

 

 

 

Fresh or Frozen, Wild or Cultivated? What to Know About Blueberries and Health

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

Let’s not beat around the bush: Blueberries are good for you.

This will come as no surprise to many Americans, who have found their thrill with blueberries in ever-rising numbers. It’s easy to understand why. Not only do they taste great, but studies keep suggesting more reasons to embrace them.

“They’re the kind of things we should be eating,” said Eric Decker, professor of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “But sometimes these things get overpromised.”

Vaguely defined terms such as “superfood” get used a lot with blueberries, whose popularity has been fueled by careful marketing. “Anytime you start talking about ‘superfoods’ and ‘super fruits,’ it’s probably a little overexaggerated,” Decker said.

But there’s no need to start singing the blues.

If you’re going to sing anything, try “Born in the U.S.A.” Wild blueberries – the tiny ones, sometimes called lowbush blueberries – are native to North America. Cultivated, or highbush, blueberries trace their roots to New Jersey, where a farmer named Elizabeth White and a government botanist named Frederick Coville turned them into a commercial crop in 1916.

Consumption has soared in the past two decades. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans ate more than 2 pounds of fresh blueberries per person in 2019, up from half a pound in 2003.

Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C. One cup of fresh blueberries provides 16% of a day’s recommended supply for men, 19% for women. Blueberries also have abundant vitamin K and the mineral manganese.

That all comes with a mere 84 calories and a healthy 3.6 grams of fiber per cup.

Fiber, Decker said, is great for the friendly microbes living in your digestive tract. Among other things, a healthy gut microbiome can help reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

Fiber is not unique to blueberries. But blueberries, especially the wild variety, are unique in their levels of polyphenols, Decker said.

Polyphenols, found in plants, are micronutrients that have healthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other foods, such as tea or cranberries, also have high levels, Decker said. But polyphenols can taste astringent or bitter. Blueberries offer a sweeter taste but with much less natural sugar than, say, red grapes.

Blueberries are high in a type of polyphenol called anthocyanins. “The purple pigment that you’re getting in a blueberry is from the anthocyanins,” Decker said.

Anthocyanins have been linked to healthy gut biomes and improved cognition. Other research has linked anthocyanins to a lower risk of developing high blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart attacks.

Wild blueberries pack more anthocyanins into a smaller space than domesticated blueberries do, Decker said. But he cautioned against fixating on one or two nutrients, which probably won’t dramatically change your health.

You can take your pick between fresh and frozen. Fresh highbush berries are readily available in most produce sections, but freezing fresh-picked fruit can lock in nutrients that might otherwise deteriorate.

Dried blueberries are another story. They lose only a small amount of polyphenols during processing, Decker said. But they do lose flavor. And, the USDA says, manufacturers often add sugar, oil or corn syrup during processing.

Similarly, blueberry jams and jellies may be as much as two-thirds sugar, Decker said. Blueberry pie? It adds saturated fat from the crust.

If you’re going to eat something like pancakes or muffins anyway, Decker said, you can make them healthier by adding blueberries to the mix. Studies show, though, that baking lowers the level of anthocyanins.

But you can easily, and tastily, work fresh blueberries into meals as part of a salad, he said. At breakfast, toss them in your oatmeal, low-fat yogurt or whole-grain, high-fiber cereal.

Decker said he and his nutritionist friends always urge people to eat more fruits and vegetables. But “if a food doesn’t taste good, people won’t eat it.” With blueberries, that’s not a problem.

So his final judgment on whether to eat them should be music to everyone’s ears: “You should.”

Source: American Heart Association

 

 

 

 

In Pictures: Food of Alchemist in Copenhagen, Denmark

An Artfully Composed Dining Experience with Innovative Cuisine

No.18 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022

 

 

 

 

Diets Heavy in ‘Ultra-Processed’ Foods Could Harm the Brain

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

Eating lots of ultra-processed foods may dramatically increase your risk for dementia, according to a new study by researchers in China.

Ultra-processed foods are high in sugar, fat and salt, but low in protein and fiber. Sodas, salty and sugary snacks and desserts, ice cream, sausage, deep-fried chicken, flavored yogurt, ketchup, mayonnaise, packaged bread and flavored cereals are all examples.

Replacing these foods with healthier alternatives may lower the odds for dementia by 19%, the study found.

“These results mean that it is important to inform consumers about these associations, implement actions targeting product reformulation, and communicate to limit the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet and [instead] promote the consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods like fresh vegetables and fruits instead,” said lead researcher Huiping Li, from the School of Public Health at Tianjin Medical University.

This study doesn’t prove that eating ultra-processed foods increases the risk of dementia, only that there seems to be a link.

Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health in New York City, reviewed the findings.

“This is consistent with the growing body of evidence indicating that a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle is the best way for everyone to modulate their risk for dementia,” Gandy said. “The main novelty here is the focus on the risks of ultra-processed foods rather than on the benefits of heart-healthy foods.”

For the study, Li’s team collected data on more than 72,000 people listed in the UK Biobank, a large database of health information of people in the United Kingdom. At the outset, participants were age 55 and older and none had dementia. Over an average 10 years, 518 people developed dementia.

Researchers compared 18,000 people whose diets included little processed food with a like number who ate a lot of it.

Among participants who ate the least amount of processed foods (about 8 ounces a day), 100 developed dementia, compared to 150 of those who ate the most (about 28-29 ounces a day). The study considered one serving size of pizza or fish sticks to be just over 5 ounces.

Drinks, sugary products and ultra-processed dairy were the main contributors to ultra-processed food intake.

Li’s group estimated that substituting 10% of ultra-processed foods with unprocessed or minimally processed foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, milk and meat, could lower dementia (but not Alzheimer’s) risk by 19%.

Li said easy changes in food choices can make a big difference.

“The small and manageable dietary changes, such as increasing the amount of unprocessed or minimally processed foods by only 2 ounces a day [about half an apple, a serving of corn, or a bowl of bran cereal], and simultaneously decreasing ultra-processed foods intake by 2 ounces a day [about a chocolate bar or a serving of bacon], may be associated with 3% decreased risk of dementia,” Li said.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, said it’s long been known that ultra-processed foods increase the odds of developing several chronic conditions. They include heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“While the exact cause is unknown, it is not surprising that this type of dietary pattern is associated with an increased risk of dementia,” she said. “Ultra-processed foods are both biochemically designed and advertised to increase cravings and desire for these foods, and in many households crowd out healthier options such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.”

The poor nutrient quality of ultra-processed foods — which are high in salt, sugar and saturated fat, and low in fiber — is a recipe for poor health both physically and mentally, Heller said.

“Dodging dementia is another great reason to start incorporating more plant foods, less ultra-processed foods and animal foods, into our diets,” she said.

Switches can be as easy as replacing sugary cereal with a whole-grain cereal like shredded wheat or oatmeal, or topping pizza with salad or mushrooms and spinach, instead of pepperoni and sausage, Heller said.

Or, she suggested, try falafel in a whole wheat pita with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers instead of a ham sandwich, or lentil soup and a side salad instead of a cheeseburger.

“Every meal is an opportunity to make a healthy choice,” Heller said.

Keeping the kitchen stocked with healthy foods, like canned or dried beans, whole grains like quinoa or brown rice, peanut or almond butter, trail mix and frozen vegetables, makes it easier to throw together meals that are rich in fiber and nutrients, she said.

“Learning new ways of food prep and meal ideas might feel daunting at first but there are lots of free recipes and resources online to turn to for guidance,” Heller said. “Anecdotally, I have found that with my patients, once they start eating less ultra-processed foods and more fresh foods, the cravings and taste for the ultra-processed foods decreases, sometimes to the point where that bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich doesn’t even taste good anymore.”

The findings were published online in the journal Neurology.

In a companion editorial, Boston University researchers Maura Walker and Nicole Spartano questioned the study’s definition of ultra-processed foods. They pointed out that preparation methods can affect the nutritional value of foods, and said that further study that is not dependent on participants’ self-reported eating habits would be beneficial.

“As we aim to understand better the complexities of dietary intake [processing, timing, mixed meals] we must also consider that investments in more high-quality dietary assessment may be required,” they wrote.

Source: HealthDay

 

 

 

 

Ropa Vieja

Ingredients

2 (1-1/2-pound) flank steaks, trimmed of excess fat and cut crosswise into 3 pieces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
3 large Spanish onions, 1 quartered and 2 thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp ground cumin
1 red bell pepper cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (14-1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, crushed with fingers
1/2 cup sliced Spanish olives

Method

  1. Season flank steak with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed 5- to 6-quart pot, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add half of sliced steak to pot in a single layer and cook until well browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer steak to a plate. Pour off any oil in pot and repeat with 2 Tbsp oil and remaining steak.
  3. In the same pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add quartered onion, half of green pepper, and half of yellow pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, peppercorns, cumin, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add cooked steak and any juices on the plate. The steak should be just covered with broth. Pour in additional broth, if necessary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until steak is fork-tender, 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours. Remove pot from heat and let steak cool in broth for 30 minutes.
  5. Transfer steak to a plate. Strain cooking liquid through a sieve set over a bowl. Discard solids. Let
    liquid stand 5 minutes, then skim off and discard any fat. Set cooking liquid aside. Shred steak.

  6. In the same pot, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add thinly sliced onions, remaining green and yellow peppers, red pepper, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions and peppers soften, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Stir in tomato paste until vegetables are coated. Stir in crushed tomatoes with their juice, 2-1/2cups of the reserved cooking liquid, and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
  8. Return shredded steak to stew and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Stir in olives. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if necessary. If not serving immediately, cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. flavour will only improve upon standing. Serve with black beans and white rice, boiled potatoes, or fried plantains.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Chef Andrew Friedman


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