New Snack: Vegetable Salad Parfait

The snack is available from CURRYON(カリオン)in Nara, Japan for 800 yen (tax included).

The parfait is to be eaten with either Balsamic Vinegar or Strawberry Sauce.

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Video: Omnipork – Plant-based Pork Alternative

In Asia, particularly in China, pork is by far the highest consumed meat.

The replacement of this widely-consumed meat has yet to be explored…until now.

Introducing “Omnipork,” a 100% plant-based pork created by the food tech start up Right Treat.

With this nutritional superior and environmentally friendly Omnipork, we are expecting to have pork dishes that are more sustainable and kinder to pigs.

Watch video at You Tube (1:36 minutes) . . . . .


Dishes made with Omnipork

Eating Nuts May Improve Brain Health

Long-term, high nut consumption could be the key to better cognitive health in older people according to new research from the University of South Australia.

In a study of 4822 Chinese adults aged 55+ years, researchers found that eating more than 10 grams of nuts a day was positively associated with better mental functioning, including improved thinking, reasoning and memory.

Lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr Ming Li, says the study is the first to report an association between cognition and nut intake in older Chinese adults, providing important insights into increasing mental health issues (including dementia) faced by an ageing population.

“Population aging is one of the most substantial challenges of the twenty-first century. Not only are people living longer, but as they age, they require additional health support which is placing unprecedented pressure on aged-care and health services,” Dr Li says.

“In China, this is a massive issue, as the population is ageing far more rapidly than almost any other country in the world.

“Improved and preventative health care – including dietary modifications – can help address the challenges that an aging population presents.

“By eating more than 10 grams (or two teaspoons) of nuts per day older people could improve their cognitive function by up to 60 per cent– compared to those not eating nuts – effectively warding off what would normally be experienced as a natural two-year cognition decline.”

China has one of the fastest growing aging populations. In 2029, China’s population is projected to peak at 1.44 billion, with the ratio of young to old dramatically imbalanced by the rising ranks of the elderly. By 2050, 330 million Chinese will be over age 65, and 90.4 million will be over age 80, representing the world’s largest population of this most elderly age group.

More broadly, the World Health Organization says that by 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than five years old.

The UniSA study analysed nine waves of China Health Nutrition Survey data collected over 22 years, finding that 17 per cent of participants were regular consumers of nuts (mostly peanuts). Dr Li says peanuts have specific anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which can alleviate and reduce cognitive decline.

“Nuts are known to be high in healthy fats, protein and fibre with nutritional properties that can lower cholesterol and improve cognitive health,” Dr Li says.

“While there is no cure for age-related cognition decline and neurogenerative disease, variations in what people eat are delivering improvements for older people.”

The World Health Organization estimates that globally, the number of people living with dementia is at 47 million.

By 2030, this is projected to rise to 75 million and by 2050, global dementia cases are estimated to almost triple. China has the largest population of people with dementia.

“As people age, they naturally experience changes to conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed. This is all part of the normal ageing process,” Dr Li says

“But age is also the strongest known risk factor for cognitive disease. If we can find ways to help older people retain their cognitive health and independence for longer – even by modifying their diet – then this absolutely worth the effort.”

Source: University of South Australia

Stay Away From Sugary Sodas, Spare Your Heart

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

People who regularly down sugar-laden sodas, juices and sports drinks aren’t doing their heart any favors.

A new study of more than 110,000 U.S. health professionals found that the more people drank sugary beverages, the higher their risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

People who consumed at least two per day were about one-third more likely to die of heart disease or stroke, versus those who rarely had sugar-sweetened drinks.

And it wasn’t just because that the latter group was more health-conscious. The risk remained when the researchers factored in overall diet and habits such as exercise, smoking and drinking.

While Americans eat plenty of junk food, there is reason to focus on sugary drinks in particular, according to Vasanti Malik, the lead researcher on the study.

“They’re the single biggest contributor of added sugar to Americans’ diets,” said Malik, a research scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The new findings do not prove that sugary drinks, per se, raise the odds of dying from cardiovascular disease, Malik said.

But, she added, many studies have linked the beverages to ill health effects — including weight gain and heightened risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

“If you look at the overall literature, the association is strong,” Malik said. “This study is offering another piece of evidence that we should reduce our intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Debbie Petitpain, a registered dietitian not involved in the study, agreed.

“There’s no downside to cutting down on sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Petitpain, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In fact, she added, it’s a simple way to slash excess calories — easier than, say, eating a smaller dinner every night.

That doesn’t just mean cutting out soda, though. “We used to only talk about soda,” Petitpain said. “But added sugars are lurking in many other beverages, too — juices, sports drinks, coffee drinks.”

Ideally, people should replace those beverages with water, Petitpain said. “But if you really need that sweet taste,” she added, “there are low-calorie alternatives.”

In this study, published online March 18 in the journal Circulation, there was evidence that replacing one sugary drink each day with an artificially sweetened version could trim the risk of dying from heart disease.

On the other hand, women who drank a lot of artificially sweetened beverages — four or more per day — had an increased risk of dying (from any cause) during the study period.

Does that mean artificial sweeteners somehow contributed? Malik did not discount that possibility, but also said there’s no proof of that from this study. She offered an alternative explanation: “reverse causation.”

That is, women who were trying to lose weight or manage health problems may have switched to artificially sweetened drinks.

A group representing the low-calorie beverage industry stressed that point. “These products are proven safe and beneficial for those managing their weight and blood glucose [sugar] levels,” said Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council.

Alice Lichtenstein is a professor of nutrition science at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

She said it’s hard to interpret the finding on artificially sweetened drinks. But in general, Lichtenstein said, “the best advice we can give to people is to drink mainly water.”

And if you need more zip, she added, add a slice of orange or lime — or try an unsweetened flavored water.

The findings are based on over 37,700 male health professionals and 80,000-plus female nurses who were followed from the 1980s until 2014. During that time, nearly 7,900 died of heart disease or stroke.

People who regularly downed sugary drinks did tend to eat more red meat and sugar, and fewer fruits and vegetables. They also got less exercise, weighed more and were more likely to smoke, versus people who rarely had the drinks.

But even when Malik’s team accounted for those factors, the link between sugary drinks and cardiovascular deaths remained.

It’s important to cut added sugar from food, too. But liquid sugar can be particularly problematic, Petitpain said, because it’s not as filling as solid food — making it easier to load up on excess calories.

“You can easily drink a 200-calorie beverage, then turn around and say, ‘What’s for lunch?'” Petitpain said.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

Editing Genes Shouldn’t be too Scary – Unless They Are the Ones that Get Passed to Future Generations

Eleanor Feingold wrote . . . . . . . . .

Gene editing is one of the scarier things in the science news, but not all gene editing is the same. It matters whether researchers edit “somatic” cells or “germline” cells.

Germline cells are the ones that propogate into an entire organism – either cells that make sperm and eggs (known as germ cells), or the cells in an early embryo that will later differentiate into different functions. What’s critical about those particular cells is that a change or mutation in one will go on to affect every cell in the body of a baby that grows from them. That’s why scientists are calling for a moratorium on editing the genes of germ cells or germline cells.

Somatic cells are everything else – cells in particular organs or tissues that perform a specific function. Skin cells, liver cells, eye cells and heart cells are all somatic. Changes in somatic cells are much less significant than changes in germline cells. If you get a mutation in a liver cell, you may end up with more mutant liver cells as the mutated cell divides and grows, but it will never affect your kidney or your brain.

Our bodies accumulate mutations in somatic tissues throughout our lives. Most of the time humans never know it or suffer any harm. The exception is when one of those somatic mutations grows out of control leading to cancer.

I am a geneticist who studies the genetic and environmental causes of a number of different disorders, from birth defects – cleft lip and palate – to diseases of old age like Alzheimer’s. Studying the genome always entails thinking about how the knowledge you generate will be used, and whether those likely uses are ethical. So geneticists have been following the gene editing news with great interest and concern.

In gene editing, it matters enormously whether you are messing with a germline cell, and thus an entire future human being and all its future descendants, or just one particular organ. Gene therapy – fixing faulty genes in individual organs – has been one of the great hopes of medical science for decades. There have been a few successes, but more failures. Gene editing may make gene therapy more effective, potentially curing important diseases in adults. The National Institutes of Health runs a well-respected and highly ethical research program to develop tools for safe and effective gene editing to cure disease.

But editing germline cells and creating babies whose genes have been manipulated is a very different story, with multiple ethical issues. The first set of concerns is medical – at this point society doesn’t know anything about the safety. “Fixing” the cells in the liver of someone who might otherwise die of liver disease is one thing, but “fixing” all of the cells in a baby who is otherwise healthy is a much higher-risk proposition. This is why the recent announcement that a Chinese scientist had done just that created such an uproar.

But even if we knew the procedure was safe, gene editing of the germline would still catapult us straight into all of the “designer baby” controversies and the problems of creating a world where people try to micromanage their offspring’s genes. It does not take much imagination to fear that gene editing will could bring us a new era of eugenics and discrimination.

Does gene editing still sound scary? It should. But it makes a big difference whether you are manipulating individual organs or whole human beings.

Source: The Conversation