If you’re going to drink, make it part of your Mediterranean diet

The British government’s new guidelines advise reducing alcohol consumption to 14 units a week for both men and women and bluntly state that, for some cancers of the mouth, throat and breast, “risk increases with any amount you drink”.

It’s not just what you drink, but the way that you drink it. merc67/shutterstock.com

celine handbags The British government’s new guidelines advise reducing alcohol consumption to 14 units a week for both men and women and bluntly state that, for some cancers of the mouth, throat and breast, “risk increases with any amount you drink”. The message is clear: for the good of our health, the government would rather we not drink at all.

canada goose So what about the many millions of people of the Mediterranean, whose diet is one of the healthiest in the world and which includes a drink or two as an integral part? The answer may lie not just in the amount of alcohol consumed, as the UK government’s guidelines would have it, but the manner in which it is drunk and what it is drunk with.

There is now good evidence that many foods in the Mediterranean diet including vegetables, pulses, whole grains and olive oil contain protective substances that help counter alcohol’s harmful effects.

For example, a number of studies suggest that even low amounts of alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer. But a recent trial, part of the highly regarded Predimed Study, found that women who ate a Mediterranean diet had a reduced risk of breast cancer, even though almost half were drinking up to two units of alcohol (a 175ml glass of wine) a day.

celine bags The extra virgin olive oil in their diet was thought to have played a role. Alcohol increases breast cancer risk by raising oestrogen levels, but extra virgin olive oil contains various anti-oestrogens that block the carcinogenic actions of oestrogens. In another large European study involving 368,000 women, it was convincingly shown that folates – found in large quantities in the green, leafy vegetables and pulses of the Mediterranean diet – also provide a protective action against the effects of alcohol.

Although these are important findings, women with a family history of breast cancer are still advised to avoid drinking.

The link between mouth and throat cancers and low alcohol consumption, which the guidelines declare to hold true “for any amount you drink”, also deserves closer scrutiny. Again, the Mediterranean diet comes up trumps: even when low to moderate alcohol is consumed as part of the diet, the risk of these cancers decreases.

How we drink matters

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Food and wine: the ancient Greeks knew what they were doing.
Caravaggio/Uffizi Gallery

It’s well established that combining smoking with drinking dramatically increases the risk of causing mouth and throat cancers. Some studies such as the Million Women Study (which really did involve well over a million women) found no increased risk of these cancers for women drinking up to two units a day, so long as they were non-smokers. It’s thought that alcohol acts as a solvent that increases the absorption of carcinogens in cigarette smoke. If most drinking occurs during a meal, the hazards from smoking become less likely.

So it’s clear that the way we drink is very important. Drinking with food is the typical pattern in Mediterranean countries, whereas in the UK binge drinking is far more common – where alcohol is not just drunk excessively, but also without food. A full stomach of food slows the rate of alcohol absorption, limiting dangerous spikes in blood alcohol levels that are linked to high blood pressure and strokes. In Mediterranean countries, even alcohol consumed without a meal is usually accompanied with some food: a few olives with an ouzo in Greece, tapas or a piece of tortilla to accompany a beer in a Spanish bar. What a shame that so few pubs in the UK provide these protective mouthfuls.

A scoring system was developed to capture the Mediterranean way of drinking: moderate alcohol intake spread out over the week, a preference for red wine drunk with meals, little intake of spirits, and an avoidance of binge drinking. Scoring highly on these criteria correlated with significantly reduced mortality.

Of course there are many other benefits to a Mediterranean diet: it is the leading diet for risk reduction of cardiovascular disease, with many studies confirming the cardio-protective effects of moderate drinking, especially as part of a Mediterranean diet, and increasing evidence that links the Mediterranean diet with a decreased risk of dementia. Considering how few other options there are to counter this devastating disease, these are important findings.

Just as eating guidelines now recognise that diet must be considered as a whole, rather than isolating individual foods or nutrients such as sugar or saturated fat, there is good reason to apply the same thinking to weighing up the risks and benefits of drinking alcohol. Heavy drinking increases the risk of various cancers, of this there is no doubt – and even low alcohol consumption may do so with certain diets such as those high in processed foods. But the evidence suggests that one or two glasses of wine, so long as they are accompanied by a tasty Mediterranean meal, won’t hurt you – whatever the government guidelines say.

Richard Hoffman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Read the Original Article at TheConservation.com

We can avoid weight creep – here’s how

Many of us enter a new year reflecting on where we have been and our plans for the future. For some, this will mean acknowledging that a couple more kilos have crept on over the past year.

Walking briskly for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week is a good start. etorres/Shutterstock

celine handbags canada goose Many of us enter a new year reflecting on where we have been and our plans for the future. For some, this will mean acknowledging that a couple more kilos have crept on over the past year. Others will have health on their hit list for 2016; resolving to eat better and lose weight could be part of that.

canada goose It can be difficult to lose weight and keep it off in the long term. So how can we support communities to avoid weight gain over time?

New research published today in PLOS Medicine suggests that simple lifestyle programs can help prevent weight gain. But GPs, communities and individuals also have a role to play.

It’s OK to aim low

Even a small weight loss can result in positive health impacts. It has been estimated that a 1% reduction in body mass index (BMI) – the equivalent to approximately 1kg for an average adult – across the United States population would avoid 2 million cases of diabetes, 1.5 million cardiovascular diseases, and more than 73,000 cases of cancer.

It is the norm to be overweight or obese in Australia. Figures released last month showed 63% of adults (71% men, 56% women) and 27% of children were in this category in 2014/15. Further, rates of obesity in women in Australasia are growing faster than anywhere else in the world.

Challenging the accepted dogma that we will gain weight as we age was put to a recent meeting of the Queensland Clinical Senate, which helps set the agenda for long-term health strategies. The resolution of the meeting, convened with Health Consumers Queensland, was to focus on preventing weight gain in the community, rather than weight loss, particularly given the problems faced in achieving the latter.

Lifestyle programs

In today’s study, the researchers randomly assigned 649 women in 41 rural Australian towns to either the intervention group or the control group.

Women in the intervention group took part in information sessions, received a personalised self-management plan, were sent monthly text message reminders and undertook a 20-minute phone-based coaching session.

Women in the control group attended a general session on women’s health.

Over 12 months, the women in the towns who received the targeted intervention program lost almost half a kilogram, while those in the control towns gained almost half a kilo.

This shows that delivering programs with community integration, a focus on small changes in behaviour, self-management, and minimal burden on the participants using a mix of personal and electronic modes of delivery, can be feasible, cheap and effective.

Role of GPs

General and nurse practitioners play an important role in providing advice and strategies on healthy and active lifestyles to prevent and manage obesity.

However, a Monash University study, published in The Medical Journal of Australia, found GPs recorded the weight of only 25.8% of a sample of 270,426 patients. Some of the barriers for recording this information are difficulty in approaching the discussion and a perceived lack of available training.

It is important for governments to support all health-care providers to be able to raise the issue of weight control – not just with those who are overweight or obese, but also to encourage those who are a healthy weight to remain in that category.

Guidelines for health professionals already exist, however, better integration with community programs (particularly those which offer social benefits), referral to tailored services and alignment with mass media campaigns are likely to add enormous value at relatively low cost.

There is no single strategy that will address excess weight and obesity in our community. But health professionals are important influencers. Empowering this group with effective, low-intensity strategies and programs is one element of a comprehensive approach to address poor diets and weight issues.

Community response

Another key element is to support communities to create healthy environments, to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Schools, workplaces, sports and community centres are all environments that should support healthy eating and active lifestyles.

If communities are funded and empowered, such as through the OPAL (Obesity prevention and lifestyle) program in South Australia and Healthy Together Victoria, they can link into statewide programs but also develop local solutions to solve the unique issues that exist in their catchment.

Recently we saw the funding removed from the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, which provided valuable investment for the implementation of policies and programs to support healthy lifestyles. Funding to support community based initiatives so local populations can engage this issue is critically important, along with the implementation of policies such as reducing junk food marketing to children, mandatory health star labels and taxing sugary drinks.

Individual action

In the meantime, how can individuals who regularly pledge to get fit and lose weight make sustainable and significant healthy changes, as the women in today’s rural Australia study have done?

celine bags Aiming to avoid weight gain is a good starting point, followed by small lifestyle changes, such as:

  • reducing serving sizes
  • aiming for two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day
  • reducing sugary drinks
  • walking briskly for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

These changes can make a big difference to your risk of weight gain and developing serious health problems in the future.

Jane Martin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Read the Original Article at TheConservation.com

Watch Fifty Shades Darker (2017) Movie Online Streaming & Download

Tim Peake is the first official British astronaut to walk in space. The former Army Air Corps officer has spent a month in space, after blasting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station on December 15 last year, but the spacewalk will doubtless be his most gruelling test.

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Title : Fifty Shades Darker
Director : James Foley.
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Release : 2017-02-08
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You _can_ thaw and refreeze meat: five food safety myths busted

This time of year, most fridges are stocked up with food and drinks to share with family and friends. Let’s not make ourselves and our guests sick by getting things wrong when preparing and serving food.

So it turns out you can thaw out meat and refreeze it. Who knew? Osseous/Flickr, CC BY-SA

This time of year, most fridges are stocked up with food and drinks to share with family and friends. Let’s not make ourselves and our guests sick by getting things wrong when preparing and serving food.

As the weather warms up, so does the environment for micro-organisms in foods, potentially allowing them to multiply faster to hazardous levels. So put the drinks on ice and keep the fridge for the food.

But what are some of those food safety myths we’ve long come to believe that aren’t actually true?

Myth 1: if you’ve defrosted frozen meat or chicken you can’t refreeze it

From a safety point of view, it is fine to refreeze defrosted meat or chicken or any frozen food as long as it was defrosted in a fridge running at 5°C or below. Some quality may be lost by defrosting then refreezing foods as the cells break down a little and the food can become slightly watery.

Another option is to cook the defrosted food and then divide into small portions and refreeze once it has stopped steaming. Steam in a closed container leads to condensation, which can result in pools of water forming. This, combined with the nutrients in the food, creates the perfect environment for microbial growth. So it’s always best to wait about 30 minutes before refrigerating or freezing hot food.Sandy Wexler film trailer

Plan ahead so food can be defrosted in the fridge, especially with large items such as a frozen turkey or roll of meat. If left on the bench, the external surface could be at room temperature and micro-organisms could be growing rapidly while the centre of the piece is still frozen!

Myth 2: Wash meat before you prepare and/or cook it

It is not a good idea to wash meats and poultry when preparing for cooking. Splashing water that might contain potentially hazardous bacteria around the kitchen can create more of a hazard if those bacteria are splashed onto ready-to-eat foods or food preparation surfaces.

It is, however, a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and serving, especially if they’re grown near or in the ground as they may carry some dirt and therefore micro-organisms.

This applies particularly to foods that will be prepared and eaten without further cooking. Consuming foods raw that traditionally have been eaten cooked or otherwise processed to kill pathogenic micro-organisms (potentially deadly to humans) might increase the risk of food poisoning.

Fruit, salad, vegetables and other ready-to-eat foods should be prepared separately, away from raw meat, chicken, seafood and other foods that need cooking.

Myth 3: Hot food should be left out to cool completely before putting it in the fridge

It’s not OK to leave perishable food out for an extended time or overnight before putting it in the fridge.

Micro-organisms can grow rapidly in food at temperatures between 5° and 60°C. Temperature control is the simplest and most effective way of controlling the growth of bacteria. Perishable food should spend as little time as possible in the 5-60°C danger zone. If food is left in the danger zone, be aware it is potentially unsafe to eat.

Hot leftovers, and any other leftovers for that matter, should go into the fridge once they have stopped steaming to reduce condensation, within about 30 minutes.streaming The Shack

Large portions of hot food will cool faster if broken down into smaller amounts in shallow containers. It is possible that hot food such as stews or soup left in a bulky container, say a two-litre mixing bowl (versus a shallow tray), in the fridge can take nearly 24 hours to cool to the safe zone of less than 5°C.

Myth 4: If it smells OK, then it’s OK to eat

This is definitely not always true. Spoilage bacteria, yeasts and moulds are the usual culprits for making food smell off or go slimy and these may not make you sick, although it is always advisable not to consume spoiled food.

Pathogenic bacteria can grow in food and not cause any obvious changes to the food, so the best option is to inhibit pathogen growth by refrigerating foods.

Just because something passes the sniff test, doesn’t make it OK.
www.shutterstock.com

Myth 5: Oil preserves food so it can be left at room temperature

Adding oil to foods will not necessarily kill bugs lurking in your food. The opposite is true for many products in oil if anaerobic micro-organisms, such as Clostridium botulinum (botulism), are present in the food. A lack of oxygen provides perfect conditions for their growth.

Outbreaks of botulism arising from consumption of vegetables in oil – including garlic, olives, mushrooms, beans and hot peppers – have mostly been attributed to the products not being properly prepared.

Vegetables in oil can be made safely. In 1991, Australian regulations stipulated that this class of product (vegetables in oil) can be safely made if the pH (a measure of acid) is less than 4.6. Foods with a pH below 4.6 do not in general support the growth of food-poisoning bacteria including botulism.

So keep food out of the danger zone to reduce your guests’ risk of getting food poisoning this summer. Check out other food safety tips and resources from CSIRO and the Food Safety Information Council, including testing your food safety knowledge.

Cathy Moir is a Senior Food Microbiologist and Team Leader with the CSIRO Food and Nutrition and is Vice President of the Food Safety Information Council, a not for profit organisation.

Read the Original Article at TheConservation.com

Health Check: how to get kids to eat healthy food

Hippocrates said circa 400BC that “food should be our medicine and medicine should be our food”. He would probably turn in his grave if he saw the amount of highly processed, sugary food and drinks marketed to children today.

Children will learn to like vegetables if they’re regularly exposed to them from a young age. Zadorozhnyi Viktor/Shutterstock

Hippocrates said circa 400BC that “food should be our medicine and medicine should be our food”. He would probably turn in his grave if he saw the amount of highly processed, sugary food and drinks marketed to children today. This food can be as addictive as cocaine or heroin. And it’s difficult for parents to counteract its appeal.

One in four Australian children and 63% of adults are overweight or obese. This is contributing to unprecedented levels of preventable obesity-related disease such as diabetes, heart disease, and liver and kidney failure.

Unhealthy diets also contribute to poor mental health and lower IQ in children. Just like our body, our brain needs essential nutrients and a healthy environment free from inflammation, oxidation and excess glucose to work properly.

What can we do?

Public health groups are tackling junk food marketing with a multifaceted approach akin to the painfully gradual change that reduced tobacco advertising and smoking. In the meantime, parents can have a very important influence on their child’s health and eating choices.

A healthy diet at any age is high in plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains as well as fish and healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil. And it’s low in processed, high-fat, high-sugar foods and red meat.

It’s important to enjoy a variety of foods from each of the core food groups in order to get a broad range of essential nutrients.

A variety of foods will give children a broad range of nutrients.
Alpha/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

So, for starters, breastfeeding for 12 months gives children a healthy immunity and has multiple benefits for their health and for their cognitive development. It can also impact on their taste preferences by exposing them to multidimensional flavours – and they can develop taste preferences for foods that mum eats too (healthy or otherwise).

The best time to gradually start introducing solids is around six months of age, when children are developmentally ready and start needing extra calories and some extra nutrients such as iron. But even the most well-meaning parents can struggle to get toddlers and children to eat healthy food, especially vegetables.

Convincing toddlers

Children will learn to like healthy food such as vegetables if they are regularly exposed to them from a young age. Where you can, cook baby foods yourself from fresh ingredients, and avoid adding sugars and salt.

Children’s taste preferences are established in early life. It is best to keep it simple – introduce new vegetables and fruit one at a time so they can learn to appreciate the individual flavours.

Young children naturally tend to develop neophobia, fear of unknown food, at around the age of two. Therefore, continued exposure to healthy foods, rather than pandering to fussiness, will help to mitigate this and their willingness to try novel foods will naturally increase over time.

Research shows it can take ten to 14 exposures to a previously unliked vegetable for children to like it and choose to eat it. So don’t give up. It’s important for this exposure to be neutral, without any pressure, rewards or bribes. Make it a positive family occasion free from distractions such as TV, other media and toys.

Research has shown that even exposing children to vegetables in story books from a young age can further strengthen the likelihood that they will eat vegetables.

Let kids explore the textures and flavours.
Nongbri Family Pix/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Most importantly, make it fun and let children play with their food to explore all of the colours, flavours and textures.

The “parent provide, child decide” model can make this process a little easier. This is where parents provide healthy options within firm boundaries and allow the child to decide what, and how much to eat. Keep the unhealthy options out of the house.

Forcing children to eat vegetables does not work – you might win the battle but will lose the war. Avoid negative associations with healthy food, as these can put them off.

Nor does using bribes or rewards work, as children will learn to prefer the reward and not learn to enjoy healthy food for its own intrinsic taste.

Children will eat when they are hungry; their appetite will vary so don’t panic if they don’t want to eat. Let them learn to listen to their bodies and their innate hunger cues.

They will also copy you. So if you want healthy children, you need to be a good role model and eat well too.

Encouraging older children

As children get older, other children, parties and school can influence their eating behaviours. However, the family food environment still plays an important role in influencing healthy eating – in particular, the mother’s role modelling behaviour and the food that is available in the home.

Other things that parents can do is involve children in shopping, cooking, gardening. School projects have shown that if children are involved in growing, picking and cooking vegetables they are more likely to eat them.

Involve children in shopping, cooking and gardening.
Eric Peacock/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Children of all ages whose families eat together at home – free from distractions such as television – have been shown to have healthier diets. So make it a priority to eat together. This is also a great time for conversation and bonding.

And don’t despair if you or your child is struggling. The good news is that food addictions and taste preferences can be changed. There are infinite healthy, tasty recipes that are simple and affordable to make.

In sum, create a warm, positive, healthy food and meal environment free from distractions when eating, and be a good role model. Children will learn to enjoy good food as it is meant to be enjoyed, and flourish in the process.

Natalie Parletta is supported by National Health and Medical Research Council Program Grant funding (# 320860 and 631947) and has previously received research funding from the Australian Research Council as well as food and nutritional supplements for research purposes from industry partners.

Read the Original Article at TheConservation.com