What’s for Lunch?

Organic Vegetarian Set Lunch at Lotus Vegecafe in Toyohashi, Japan

The Menu

  • Fried Wheat Gluten Skewer with Red Miso Sauce
  • Cabbage with Mustard Dressing
  • Spring Roll with Japanese Scallion
  • Shaved Burdock and Nuts
  • Tomato and Chickpea with Mushroom Sauce
  • Mushroom and Grated Daikon
  • Seaweed and Vegetables with Satay Sauce
  • Japanese Millet and Vegetables Salad
  • Summer Vegetables and Barley Miso Soup
  • Cooked Sprouted Brown Rice

What’s for Lunch?

Vegetarian Set lunch at Lotus Veggie Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

The Menu

  • Spanish-style Eggless Omelet
  • Roasted onion marinated with sesame nanban sauce
  • Soybean protein satay
  • Stir-fried burdock with black vinegar sauce
  • Vegetable mixed with finely shredded kelp and soy sauce
  • Whey sauerkraut
  • Caprese salad with soy milk cheese and tomato
  • Vermicelli salad with pound-pound tofu
  • Pumpkin cold soup
  • Cooked sprouted brown rice

University Scientists Make Plant-based Vitamin B12 Breakthrough

Sandy Fleming wrote . . . . . . .

Scientists have made a significant discovery about how the vitamin content of some plants can be improved to make vegetarian and vegan diets more complete.

Vitamin B12 (known as cobalamin) is an essential dietary component but vegetarians are more prone to B12 deficiency as plants neither make nor require this nutrient.

But now a team, led by Professor Martin Warren at the University’s School of Biosciences, has proved that common garden cress can indeed take up cobalamin.

The amount of B12 absorbed by garden cress is dependent on the amount present in the growth medium, and the Kent team was able to confirm B12 uptake by showing that the nutrient ends up in the leaf.

The observation that certain plants are able to absorb B12 is important as such nutrient-enriched plants could help overcome dietary limitations in countries such as India, which have a high proportion of vegetarians and may be significant as a way to address the global challenge of providing a nutrient-complete vegetarian diet, a valuable development as the world becomes increasingly meat-free due to population expansion.

The Kent scientists worked with biology teachers and year 11 and 12 pupils at Sir Roger Manwood’s School in Sandwich to investigate the detection and measurement of B12 in garden cress.

The pupils grew garden cress containing increasing concentrations of vitamin B12. After seven days growth, the leaves from the seedlings were removed, washed and analysed.

The seedlings were found to absorb cobalamin from the growth medium and to store it in their leaves. To confirm this initial observation, the scientists at Kent then made a type of vitamin B12 that emits fluorescent light when activated by a laser. This fluorescent B12 was fed to the plants and it was found to accumulate within a specialised part of the leaf cell called a vacuole, providing definitive evidence that some plants can absorb and transport cobalamin.

Vitamin B12 is unique among the vitamins because it is made only by certain bacteria and therefore has to undergo a journey to make its way into more complex multi-cellular organisms. The research described in the paper highlights how this journey can be followed using the fluorescent B12 molecules, which can also be used to help understand why some people are more prone to B12 deficiency.

The discovery also has implications for combating some parasitic infections. Not only did the researchers demonstrate that some plants can absorb vitamin B12, they were also able to use the same technique to follow the movement of fluorescent B12 molecules into worms. These results demonstrate that this is a powerful model to learn about how B12 is absorbed and, as worms must use a different absorption system to mammalian systems, there is the possibility of exploiting this difference to try and treat worm-based parasites such as hook worms.

The research is now published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

Source: University of Kent

Read also:

Good news for vegetarians – plants can be made to absorb B12 . . . . .

What’s for Lunch?

Vegetarian Lunch at Lotus Cafe in Tokyo, Japan

The Menu

  • Tofu and Nut Burger
  • Simmered Burdock with Coconut Milk
  • Assorted Vegetables with Sesame Oil
  • Sprouted Soybeans and Yams with Agar
  • Nanban-style Pickled Deep-fried Soybean
  • Stir-fried Cabbage with Sweet and Sour Miso
  • Stir-fried Bamboo Shoot with Olive Oil
  • Quinoa, Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds Salad
  • Seaweed Salad with New Onion, Hijiki, Paprika, Ginger and Garlic
  • Mushroom and Onion Soup
  • Sprouted-grain Brown Rice

Third of Early Deaths Could be Prevented by Everyone Giving Up Meat, Harvard Says

Sarah Knapton wrote . . . . . . . . .

At least one-third of early deaths could be prevented if everyone moved to a vegetarian diet, Harvard scientists have calculated.

Dr Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School said the benefits of a plant-based diet had been vastly underestimated.

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested that around 24 per cent or 141,000 deaths each year in Britain were preventable, but most of that was due to smoking, alcohol or obesity.

But the new figures from Harvard suggest that at least 200,000 lives could be saved each year if people cut meat from their diets.

Speaking at the Unite to Cure Fourth International Vatican Conference in Vatican City, Dr Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School said: “We have just been doing some calculations looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant based diet, not necessarily totally vegan, and our estimates are about one third of deaths could be prevented.

“That’s not even talking about physical activity or not smoking, and that’s all deaths, not just cancer deaths. That’s probably an underestimate as well as that doesn’t take into account the fact that obesity is important and we control for obesity.

“When we start to look at it we see that healthy diet is related to a lower risk of almost everything that we look at. Perhaps not too surprising because everything in the body is connected by the same underlying processes.”

British-born Professor David Jenkins, of the University of Toronto, who is credited with developing the glycemic index which explains how carbohydrates impact blood sugar, also told the conference that the benefits of vegetarianism had been ‘undersold.’

Dr Jenkins said humans would do better following a “simian” diet, similar to lowland gorillas who eat stems, leaves, vines and fruits rather than a “paleo” or caveman diet, which cuts carbohydrates but allows meat.

His team recently teamed up with The Bronx Zoo in New York and travelled to central Africa to record the feeding habits of gorillas.

When they recreated the diet for humans – which amounted to 63 servings of fruit and vegetables a day – they found a 35 per cent fall in cholesterol, in just two weeks, the equivalent of taking statins.

“That was quite dramatic,” he said “We showed that there was no real difference between what we got with the diet and what we got with a statin.”

Around 17.5 million people eligible for statins to stave off heart disease, equating to most men over 60 and most women over 65. But many complain of side effects and stop taking the drugs.

Dr Jenkins added: “We’re saying you’ve got a choice, you can change your diet to therapeutically meaningful change or you can take a statin. Drug or diet.”

Dr Neal Barnard, president of the Committee for Responsible Medicine also said people need to wake up to the health benefits of vegetarianism and veganism.

“I think we’re underestimating the effect,” he told delegates. “I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful.

“A low-fat vegan diet is better than any other diet I have ever seen for improving diabetes.

“With regards to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis we are seeing tremendous potential there too. Partly because of things we are avoiding and cholesterol but also because of the magical things that are in vegetables and fruits which just aren’t in spam.”

Source: The Telegraphy