Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Stomach is the way to a woman's heart, too Study shows that women's brains respond more to romantic cues on a full stomach

You've heard that romance starts in the kitchen and not in the bedroom. Well, researchers at Drexel University finally have the science to support that saying -- but not the way you might think.
Credit: © psphotography / Fotolia
You've heard that romance starts in the kitchen and not in the bedroom. Well, researchers at Drexel University finally have the science to support that saying -- but not the way you might think.

In a new study published online in the journal Appetite, researchers found that women's brains respond more to romantic cues on a full stomach than an empty one. The study explored brain circuitry in hungry versus satiated states among women who were past-dieters and those who had never dieted.

The study's first author Alice Ely, PhD, completed the research while pursuing a doctoral degree at Drexel, and is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research, part of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Michael R. Lowe, PhD, a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University, was senior author.

"We found that young women both with and without a history of dieting had greater brain activation in response to romantic pictures in reward-related neural regions after having eaten than when hungry," said Ely.

Ely said the results are contrary to several previous studies, which showed that people typically demonstrate greater sensitivity to rewarding stimuli when hungry. Such stimuli may include things like food, money and drugs.

"In this case, they were more responsive when fed," she said. "This data suggests that eating may prime or sensitize young women to rewards beyond food. It also supports a shared neurocircuitry for food and sex."

The latest finding, based on a small pilot study, grew from Ely and her Drexel colleagues' earlier work investigating how the brain changes in response to food cues. Specifically, the researchers looked at whether the brain's reward response to food differed significantly in women at risk for future obesity (historical dieters) versus those who had never dieted. All of the study participants were young, college-age women of normal weight.

In that study, published in Obesity in 2014, the researchers found that the brains of women with a history of dieting responded more dramatically to positive food cues when fed as compared to women who had never dieted or who were currently dieting.

"In the fed state, historical dieters had a greater reaction in the reward regions than the other two groups to highly palatable food cues versus neutral or moderately palatable cues," she said. Highly palatable cues included foods like chocolate cake; neutral cues were things like carrots.

Ely said the data suggests historical dieters, who longitudinal studies have shown are more at risk for weight gain, may be predisposed by their brain reward circuitry to desire food more than people who have not dieted.

"Based on this study, we hypothesized that historical dieters are differentially sensitive -- after eating -- to rewards in general, so we tested this perception by comparing the same groups' brain activation when viewing romantic pictures compared to neutral stimuli in a fasted and fed state," she said. Testing was done using MRI imaging.

While both groups' reward centers responded more to romantic cues when fed, the historical dieters' neural activity noticeably differed from the non-dieters in one brain region that had also turned up in the earlier food studies.

"The pattern of response was similar to historical dieter's activation when viewing highly palatable food cues, and is consistent with research showing overlapping brain-based responses to sex, drugs and food," said Ely.

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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Drexel University. The original item was written by Alex McKechnie. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Keeping Food Safe At Home

September is National Food Safety Education Month and this year, the Partnership for Food Safety Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Food and Drug Administration are trying to debunk some common myths about keeping food safe in the refrigerator.

Use a Thermometer
Feeling the cold air when you open the refrigerator door isn’t enough to know that your food is cold enough. It should be at or below 40 degrees F to slow bacterial growth, but you can’t know it’s cold enough unless you use a thermometer. That dial you use to adjust the temperature is important, but it’s not a thermometer.
As many as 43 percent of home refrigerators have been found to be at temperatures above 40 degrees F, putting them in the food safety “danger zone” where harmful bacteria can multiply. In her studies, Christine Bruhn, retired director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California, has seen around 13 percent of consumers’ refrigerators with temperatures above 45 degrees F.
If you measure the temperature and it’s above 40 degrees F, use the dial to adjust the temperature so it will be colder. Use your refrigerator thermometer to measure again later.

Refrigerate Food After Two Hours

Refrigerator temperatures can slow the growth of bacteria, but won’t stop it completely. This is why you should refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cut fresh fruits and vegetables, and all cooked leftovers within two hours of cooking or purchasing and within one hour if it’s a really hot day.
This is also why you can only keep perishables for a few days in the fridge.

Keep Your Fridge Clean
Bacteria can survive and some even grow in cool, moist environments like the refrigerator. Listeria can grow at temperatures below 40 degrees F.
To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, clean up any spills immediately, regularly clean your fridge with hot water and soap, and keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

And don’t think you can skip cleaning the produce bin because you only keep fruit and vegetables in there. A recent NSF International study found that the refrigerator produce compartment was the “germiest” area in consumers’ kitchens.
After washing bins with hot water and liquid soap, rinse them thoroughly, and dry with a clean cloth towel or allow to air-dry outside of the refrigerator.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Beer Espresso Drinks Are On The Way

With the seemingly endless supply of new coffee stouts coming to market, somebody, somewhere had to be innovating in the opposite direction. The hunt was on for coffee complimented by beer, not the other way around. At Elk Mountain Hops Farm in Northern Idaho, a lead brewer for Goose Island Beer company confirmed that two espresso beer drinks have already been created in a partnership with Intelligentsia Coffee: the Bourbon County Macchiato and the Bourbon County Black Eye.

The Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA) reported a 51 percent market share for specialty cups of coffee in 2014, passing non-specialty cups for the first time ever. SCAA's data points to the growing segment of craft and speciality coffee in the midst of another beverage category experiencing ridiculous growth: craft beer. In the same year, the Brewers Association reported that the craft beer industry had practically doubled in total market share in just three years from 5.7% in 2011 to 11% 2014, totaling nearly 22 million barrels, or 44 million kegs bro.

So it should be no surprise when a former craft behemoth turned Anheuser-Busch golden ticket, Goose Island Beer Company looked to partner with Intelligentsia Coffee to shake things up. The company partnership actually extends back 13 years, most famously recognized for its Bourbon County Coffee Stout. But here I was, at Elk Mountain Hops Farm in Idaho, practically pleading Goose Island's Brewing Innovation Manager, Mike Siegel, for any hints toward a beer-influenced coffee.
White Rushing Intelligentsia

Siegel confirmed a coffee radler had been created by Jay Cunningham and Jesse Raub of Intelligentsia that included 3 0z of cold-brewed concentrate of the Kurimi Ethiopia Single Origin and 19 oz of the Goose's 312 wheat ale.

"I don't think anyone is making espresso and beer drinks with great espresso equipment, carefully filtered water and really well trained baristas," said Cunningham. "Add to the fact that we had a keg of Bourbon County [Stout] to use too, it just doesn't happen very often."

We were getting closer. That was the first instance I'd ever heard of combining coffee and beer, versus coffee being part of the brewing process. But then Cunningham confirmed that multiple beer espresso drinks had been created in tandem with the radler. The White Rushing aka Bourbon County Macchiato (pictured above) included 2 oz of Bourbon County Stout, 1 oz of Black Cat Espresso and 1 oz of steamed milk. And finally the Black Eye aka Bourbon County Black Eye included 3 oz of Bourbon County Stout and 1 oz of fresh Black Cat espresso.

So they do exist. But to my knowledge, the drinks only exists during special events between Goose Island and Intelligentsia. There's also an event series called Uppers & Downers by Good Beer Hunting, an event built on the combination of beer and coffee. This has so much promise.

More and more the drink two categories are collapsing into each other. Millions of corporate hours and dollars have likely been poured into the research and strategy towards Starbuck's beer and wine program now at 70 stores nationwide. You bet there's going to be a craft response. With the abundance of new craft breweries and artisanal coffeehouses, the opportunity for a marketing collaboration without leeching consumers from each other is to large for them pass up.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Eat, Live, Feel Good!

Healthy eating tip 1: Set yourself up for success

To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.
Manageable portions of meats, People do not over consume meat!

·       Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
·       Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
·       Focus on how you feel after eating. This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The more healthy food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.

·        Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every healthy food choice you make counts. 

·       Think of water and exercise as food groups in your diet.
·       Water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
·       Exercise. Find something active that you like to do and add it to your day, just like you would add healthy greens, blueberries, or salmon. The benefits of lifelong exercise are abundant and regular exercise may even motivate you to make healthy food choices a habit.

Start on tip one; tip two will follow in 48 hours!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sugar molecule links red meat consumption and elevated cancer risk in mice

While people who eat a lot of red meat are known to be at higher risk for certain cancers, other carnivores are not, prompting researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to investigate the possible tumor-forming role of a sugar called Neu5Gc, which is naturally found in most mammals but not in humans.
In a study published in the Dec. 29 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists found that feeding Neu5Gc to mice engineered to be deficient in the sugar (like humans) significantly promoted spontaneous cancers. The study did not involve exposure to carcinogens or artificially inducing cancers, further implicating Neu5Gc as a key link between red meat consumption and cancer.
"Until now, all of our evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from somewhat artificial experimental setups," said principal investigator Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. "This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans -- feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies -- increases spontaneous cancers in mice." 

Varki's team first conducted a systematic survey of common foods. They found that red meats (beef, pork and lamb) are rich in Neu5Gc, affirming that foods of mammalian origin such as these are the primary sources of Neu5Gc in the human diet. The molecule was found to be bio-available, too, meaning it can be distributed to tissues throughout the body via the bloodstream.
The researchers had previously discovered that animal Neu5Gc can be absorbed into human tissues. In this study, they hypothesized that eating red meat could lead to inflammation if the body's immune system is constantly generating antibodies against consumed animal Neu5Gc, a foreign molecule. Chronic inflammation is known to promote tumor formation.
To test this hypothesis, the team engineered mice to mimic humans in that they lacked their own Neu5Gc and produced antibodies against it. When these mice were fed Neu5Gc, they developed systemic inflammation. Spontaneous tumor formation increased fivefold and Neu5Gc accumulated in the tumors.

"The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by," Varki said. "But on a more general note, this work may also help explain potential connections of red meat consumption to other diseases exacerbated by chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

"Of course, moderate amounts of red meat can be a source of good nutrition for young people. We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Four foods that truly deserve the title of 'superfood'

(NaturalNews) Let's face it: The word superfood has become overused. This title, which was originally intended for foods whose nutritional value considerably exceeded that of the average fruit or vegetable, seems to be attached to almost any natural food these days. Mainstream health magazines are particularly guilty of this abuse, often preferring to use superfood as a marketing term rather than an objective declaration of nutritiousness.

That said, there are a small number of foods that truly deserve to be called superfoods. These tend to be exotic foods that are seldom found in the average Westerner's home, but which are packed with so many naturally occurring, bioavailable nutrients that they put most multivitamin supplements to shame. This article lists four of the best of them.

Moringa oleifera

Arguably the king of superfoods is Moringa oleifera, a fast-growing Himalayan tree whose leaves are bursting with so much goodness that researchers have nicknamed it "The Miracle Tree" and "The Tree of Immortality." Moringa leaves contain over 90 different types of nutrients in high quantities, including seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk and three times the potassium of bananas. The leaves are also a complete protein source, since they contain all eight essential amino acids. (1) Given this nutritiousness, it's unsurprising that studies have linked Moringa consumption to the treatment of diabetes, anti-inflammatory diseases, cancer and much more.

Moringa powder is easy to purchase online, and makes an excellent natural vitamin and mineral supplement. You might also like to try Ben oil, a sweet-tasting oil made from the tree's pods that is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.


Wheatgrass is a gluten-free food prepared from the young shoots of the wheat plant. It was popularized in the 1930s by the American chemist Charles L. Schnabel, who claimed that 15 pounds of wheatgrass is equal in nutritional value to 350 pounds of regular garden vegetables! (2) While this claim is now considered to be exaggerated, it is true that wheatgrass is one of the most nutrient-dense foods known to science.

According to spectral analysis, a mere 4 grams of wheatgrass powder supplies us with 1,600 percent of our recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E, 7,000 percent of our RDA of manganese, 15,293 percent of our RDA of riboflavin, 413 percent of our RDA of zinc and similarly astounding concentrations of other essential nutrients. (3) It is also one of the world's finest sources of chlorophyll, a powerful blood builder and cleaner. This makes wheatgrass a potent detox food as well as a superb nutrient supplement.

Chlorella and spirulina

Chlorella and spirulina are two single-celled algae that thrive in the sunniest parts of freshwater bodies. Though both of them probably qualify as superfoods individually, they become something truly special when consumed together. This is because chlorella and spirulina possess complementary rather than identical nutrient profiles. For example, chlorella tends to contain more chlorophyll and iron than spirulina. Chlorella is also better at chelating heavy metals from the body than spirulina and at repairing cell damage due to its unique growth factor. Spirulina, on the other hand, contains more protein, gamma-linoleic acid (a beneficial fat that is essential for brain function) and cancer-fighting phycocyanin than chlorella. (4) Consequently, consuming these two foods together supplies our bodies with an extremely well-rounded infusion of nutrients -- far more than the average fruit or vegetable could possibly provide!

Sources for this article include:





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Completely Black Chickens Go for $2,500 Each


In Indonesia, there's a rare species of chicken called the Ayam Cemani. The chicken is covered head to claw in black, even down to its bones. Pretty metal, right? The bird is probably the closest thing to the fabled Black Chocobo outside your PlayStation, except this one you can deep-fry.

The Ayam Cemani features black plumage, legs, tongue, beak, meat, bones and even organs. Talk about consistency. While the chicken's blood is about the only thing that isn't black, it is a darker shade than most poultry species. The chicken's noir pigmentation is thanks to a genetic trait called fibromelanosis.

If you have the stomach to try one and can get past the complete deafening darkness of its flesh and bones, an Ayam Cemani is worth $2,500.

I wonder how they tell when it's fully cooked.

By: Peter Pham