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Aging is the progressive decline over time in physiological functions, including reflexes, vision, hearing, short-term memory and learning, physical strength and endurance, digestion, cardiovascular function and immunity. Two well-supported theories have been proposed to explain the biological cause of aging.

Based on recent scientific findings, a revolutionary theory called free radical theory of aging has been developed to describe the roles of oxidative damages to cells in the process of aging. The theory hypothesizes that oxidative damage by free radicals to genetic materials, proteins, cell membranes, and other cellular machineries is the genesis of aging and its consequences. According to the theory, free radical damage to our cells accumulates but our inborn ability to resist and repair the damage with antioxidants and enzymes declines as we age, resulting in chemical disintegration of our bodies, increased risk of age-related diseases, and eventually death. Therefore, the battle between free radicals and antioxidants in the body is a major factor determining aging rate and life span.

The AGEs theory of aging is another one with solid scientific evidences. Since 1912 chemists have known that in the heat of an oven sugars and amino acids of proteins form tight chemical bonds - a reaction that turns roasted turkey, toast, and coffee to a tasty golden brown. This Maillard chemistry, as it is known in food circles, also occurs in our bodies. Doctors had noticed for years that uncontrolled diabetics seemed to undergo something resembling accelerated aging. Many of the common ailments of aging, such as cataracts, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, lung and joint stiffening, appeared earlier in diabetics. Years ago, Anthony Cerami put those observations on diabetics together with the Maillard chemistry and concluded that aging itself might be partially due to Maillard or browning products accumulating at a slow rate in the body. He noted that the end result of this reaction was a series of unalterable new chemical structures in our tissues, which he called Advanced Glycosylation End-products or AGEs.

You can never escape aging because natures plan builds it into your genes. Your maximal life span is probably determined by your genetic capacities. However, it is estimated that only 30% of aging characteristics are genetically based. Consequently, how a person lives is an important key to longevity.

Your foods can be powerful weapons in your effort to fight aging. By controlling what and how much to eat as well as what not to eat, you can maximize antioxidant and anti-AGEs capacity as well as minimize the levels of free radicals and the formation of AGEs in your body. Consequently, you can slow down the aging rate and live to the full extent of your genetic boundaries.

Aging is inevitable, but how rapidly you age is not. You can start your journey to youth and longevity with the powerful antiaging foods and herbs.
http://www.foodasfood.com/aging-and-foods/
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Published by Irene on Feb 29, 2008
Biological Background: Olive oil is extracted from ground olives (Olea europaea).

Nutritional Info: A tablespoon of olive oil contains 14 g of fat (mainly monounsaturated oleic acid), equivalent to 120calories.

Pharmacological Activity: Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, a monosaturated fatty acid, and phytochemicals oleurpein and hydrooxylorosol, potent anti oxidants. Olive oil can lower blood levels of an undesirable form of cholesterol, LDL, while raising the level of HDL, the desirable kind of cholesterol and help keep LDLcholesterol from being converted to a toxic or oxidized form, thus protecting arteries from the fatty plague. Olive oil can also reduce blood pressure and help regulate blood sugars. Oleuropein and hydrooxylorosol in olive oil help fight cancers, especially breast cancer.

Eating Tips: Use olive oil for salads and cooking.
http://www.foodasfood.com/health-benefits-of-oliv…
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Published by Joan2007 on Feb 28, 2008
Biological Background: Grape is a pulpy, smooth-skinned berry, growing in clusters on vines. Grape was domesticated before 5,000 B.C. and is one of the oldest cultivated fruits.

Nutritional Information: Ten seedless grapes (50 g) provide 35 calories, 0.3 g protein, 8.9 g carbohydrate, 1.0 g fiber, 105 mg potassium, 5.4 mg vitamin C, 0.05 mg thiamin, 0.03 mg riboflavin, and 0.15 mg niacin.

Pharmacological Activity: Grape is a rich storehouse of antioxidant and anticancer compounds, including flavonoids (anthocyanin), quercetin, and resveratol (red grape skin). Grapes can inhibit blood-platelet clumping and consequently blood clot formation, and boost good type HDL cholesterol. Red grapes are antibacterial and antiviral. It has strong activity against cancers.

Eating Tips: Choose red or black colored grape instead of white or green one and eat with grape skin on to get the most health benefits.
http://www.foodasfood.com/choose-red-or-black-col…
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Published by Joan2007 on Feb 27, 2008
Scientific Name: Brassica aleracea

Biological Background: Broccoli is a dark-green vegetable with small, tight heads (curds) mounted on stem-like buds, and is a member of Brassica family of the Cruciferous vegetables. It is one of the most popular vegetables and was originated in Italy.

Nutritional Information: One cup of chopped and cooked broccoli (146 g) provides 46 calories, 4.6 g protein, 8.7 g carbohydrates, 6.4 g fiber, 178 g calcium, 1.8 mg iron, 220 RE vitamin A, 0.13 mg thiamin, 0.32 mg riboflavin, 1.18 mg niacin, 98 mg vitamin C.

Pharmacological Information: Broccoli is a spectacular and unique package of versatile disease fighters and abundant in numerous strong, well-known phytochemicals and antioxidants, including indoles, isothiocyanates, quercetin, glutathione, beta carotene, vitaminC, folate, lutein, glucarate, and glutathione. Broccoli is extremely strong in anticancer activity, particularly against lung, colon, and breast cancers. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it speeds up the removal of estrogen from the body, helping suppress breast cancer. Broccoli is rich in cholesterol-reducing fiber and has antiviral and antiulcer activity. It is a super source of chromium that helps regulate insulin and bloodsugar. Broccoli is also a good source of calcium, thus help fight osteoporosis. However, brocoli is one of the leading intestinal gas producers.

Eating Tips: Heavy cooking and processing destroy some of the anti oxidants and phytochemicals such as indoles and glutathione. Eat raw or lightly cooked as in microwave and stir-fry. To reduce its gas production, eat broccoli with ginger or garlic.
http://www.foodasfood.com/health-benefits-of-broc…
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Published by Joan2007 on Feb 26, 2008
Drinking a couple of cups of coffee a day has long been considered safe during pregnancy, but a new study finds that even this modest amount of caffeine could double a woman’s risk of miscarriage.

Doctors are split on what this means for pregnant women, with some advising avoiding caffeine altogether and others saying buzz-inducing beverages are still safe in moderation.

Previous studies have linked caffeine to an increased risk of miscarriage, but they have focused on higher doses and the connection has been controversial, with some experts arguing that the research didn't account for morning sickness. The nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, caused by elevated hormones, is generally a sign of a reduced risk of miscarriage — and also can lead women to stop drinking their usual coffee or other caffeinated drinks. The concern was that the cutback in caffeine among these women could make it appear caffeine was associated with miscarriage
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22718279/
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Published by Kristine on Feb 25, 2008
DALLAS - Kids who load up on salty meals and snacks get thirsty, and too often they turn to calorie-filled sodas. So maybe cutting back on the salt is a good way to cut the calories.

That is the idea coming from a British study published Wednesday in an American Heart Association journal.

Salt is "a hidden factor in the obesity epidemic," said Graham MacGregor, a co-author of the study by researchers at St. George's University of London.
And researchers say all that salt is not coming from the salt shaker: About 80 percent comes from manufactured food.

"Most people think that sodium comes from the salt shaker. The salt shaker contributes less than 10 to 15 percent," said Dr. Myron Weinberger, a professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

"Fast foods, for example, are just loaded with sodium. Processed foods are all very high in sodium," said Weinberger, who wrote an editorial related to the study published in the online journal Hypertension.

Benefits go on
Not only could less salt translate to fewer soft drinks and therefore fewer calories, but a modest reduction in salt has already been shown to lower blood pressure, which increases the risk of later-in-life heart attack and stroke, researchers say.

Also, several studies have shown a link between sugary soft drinks and obesity in children.

Reducing salt in manufactured foods can be done gradually, without the public even noticing, said Dr. Feng He, lead author of the study and cardiovascular research fellow at St. George's. She said a 10 to 20 percent reduction in salt is not even detectable.
"It's important for the food industry to make a reduction," she said.

The study suggested that cutting in half the amount of salt British children consume — a decrease of about half a teaspoon a day — would lead to an average reduction of about 18 ounces of sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week.

The study was based on diet data from Great Britain's National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Researchers looked at 1,688 British boys and girls — ages 4 to 18 — over a seven-day period in 1997.

They noted that the amount of salt eaten might be underestimated in the study because it did not include salt added during cooking or at the table. The researchers also found that more than half the fluids drunk by the children were soft drinks, and more than half of those were sugar-sweetened.

The United Kingdom began a government-led campaign to cut salt consumption in 1996 and researchers say more recent studies show that salt intake has already decreased.

Proposal to cut back on salt
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is taking public comment until March 28 on a consumer group's proposal to restrict the amount of salt in processed foods, among other options. And the American Medical Association has urged the government to require strong labeling of high-salt foods because if salt's connection to high blood pressure and heart problems.

MacGregor said that parents should look at food labels. And they should make sure children eat more fresh fruits and vegetables without adding salt, which stimulates the brain to want more fluid.

"Thirst is one of the most basic instincts. When you get thirsty, you have to drink," MacGregor said.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23261084/
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Published by Kristine on Feb 24, 2008
Regularly eating yogurt and other foods with lactic acid may be good for your mouth, Japanese researchers report.

Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki and colleagues found that consuming yogurt and lactic acid drinks was significantly associated with better periodontal health.

"But, milk and cheese were not," Shimazaki said.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23277008/
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Published by Art99 on Feb 22, 2008
Cutting calories helps people lose weight, but doing so by filling up on whole grains may be particularly heart-healthy, new research suggests.

In a study of obese adults at risk of heart disease, researchers found that those who trimmed calories and increased their whole-grain intake shed more belly fat and lowered their blood levels of C-reactive protein or CRP.

CRP is a marker of chronic, low-level inflammation in the blood vessels, and both abdominal fat and CRP, in excess, are linked to heart attack and stroke.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23256171/
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Published by Irene on Feb 21, 2008
Here’s a good message for everyone on Valentine’s Day: feeling loved can be one of the best protections against coronary heart disease. It even works if you have a health problem, or if you’re depressed.

Scientists discovered the importance of love when they tracked the health of 6,025 men and women without heart disease for 15 years.

Overall, 1,141 participants developed heart disease over the lifetime of the study, but those who had a positive outlook, and who were in a loving relationship, reduced their risk considerably.

The researchers assumed that the effect was due to the possibility that people with a positive outlook might adopt good health habits, but the same protective qualities were enjoyed even by those who did little to maintain a good health regime. So – Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!

(Source: Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007; 64: 1393-1401).
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Published by Irene on Feb 14, 2008
Knowing what to eat can be confusing. Everywhere you turn, there is news about what is or isn't good for you. Some basic principles have weathered the fad diets, and have stood the test of time. Here are a few tips on making healthful food choices for you and your entire family.

* Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Try picking from the rainbow of colors available to maximize variety. Eat non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli or green beans with meals.
* Choose whole grain foods over processed grain products. Try brown rice with your stir fry or whole wheat spaghetti with your favorite pasta sauce.
* Include dried beans (like kidney or pinto beans) and lentils into your meals.
* Include fish in your meals 2-3 times a week.
* Choose lean meats like cuts of beef and pork that end in "loin" such as pork loin and sirloin. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
* Choose non-fat dairy such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese.
* Choose water and calorie-free "diet" drinks instead of regular soda, fruit punch, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
* Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats. Remember that fats are high in calories. If you're trying to lose weight, watch your portion sizes of added fats.
* Cut back on high calorie snack foods and desserts like chips, cookies, cakes, and full-fat ice cream.
* Eating too much of even healthful foods can lead to weight gain. Watch your portion sizes.

Want more information on foods that are healthier, or how to establish a plan for eating healthy foods? Let the American Diabetes Association help point you in the right direction.
http://www.diabetes.org/nutrition-and-recipes/nut…
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Published by RiVD on Feb 12, 2008