Muhammara…

Posted by Lenny Variano on September 21, 2023

If you are a fan of Mid-Eastern cuisine and enjoy dipping pita into hummus or babagonash, you may also enjoy muhammara. It is a dip that originated in Syria. It is great as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 12-oz. jar of roasted peppers
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo chili peppers or a mild chili powder if you prefer
  • ¼ cup ground cumin

 

Directions:

  • Pulse walnuts lightly in a food processor and separate in a bowl.
  • Drain peppers and pulse to puree.
  • Add to bowl of walnuts and add all the other ingredients and mix adding some salt and peppers.

 

Serve: with larger pieces of walnuts crumpled on top and drizzle some olive oil. Rich in lycopene and important carotenoid (present in orange and red foods) for urinary tract health.

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Canned Food vs. Take Out…

Posted by Lenny Variano on September 21, 2023

Pressed for time but want to eat healthy? Make sure your pantry is stocked with the right foods to fall back on. Some canned foods can be quite healthy. Sardines, tuna, and salmon can be healthy sources of Omega 3s which are an important fat that is missing from the American diet. Fruits with no sugar added are high in fiber. Beans with low or no sodium can be a good source of protein. There are many companies responding to the demands of their customers by not adding unnecessary sugar and salt to their canned goods. Produce that is destined to be canned is picked at the peak of freshness. There is some Vitamin B and C loss in the canning process, but some foods provide excellent sources of calcium, potassium, and fiber. Heating tomatoes before they are canned increases the availability of lycopene (urinary health). This is also true for foods with orange pigments which optimize the benefits of beta-carotene (eye health). Look for canned foods with minimal ingredients and be aware of sugar and salt content. In addition, canned foods can save money and time if used properly and combined with other fresh ingredients.

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46,000-Year-Old Roundworms…

Posted by Lenny Variano on September 21, 2023

A pair of roundworms was encased in the Siberian permafrost about the time when the Wooly Mammoth roamed freely. After 46,000 years these worms were defrosted in warm water and began to wiggle. This was an indication that life can be paused almost indefinitely. The results were published in “PLOS Genetics”. According to researchers at the Institute of Physiochemical and Biological Problems In Soli Science in Russia, these nematodes (roundworms) were buried approximately 130 feet deep. The findings were verified in Germany where the worms were then shipped. They have a lifespan of a few days and were able to produce new generations while in the lab. The timeframe of when they lived was established by a process called radiocarbon dating. The roundworms were able to achieve cryptobiosis (dormant state) because of a special gene which is also present in contemporary roundworms. The hope is that we may learn to adapt more easily to the extreme effects of climate change and in so doing protect ecosystems from collapsing. Since the permafrost is melting there may yet be many more discoveries of our distant past.

https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1010798https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/46-000-year-old-worm-possibly-revived-from-siberian-permafrost/

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Standing for Fitness…

Posted by Lenny Variano on September 21, 2023

Does pacing help when trying to solve a difficult problem? Does it improve brain function? We already know that sitting for long periods of time can have negative health consequences. If so does standing have the opposite effect on our health? In a study published by the University of California, sedentary behavior resulted in reduced thickness of the medial temporal lobe of the brain. This is the area that is critical for memory and learning. The study included 35 participants ages 45 to 70. Preexisting conditions and psychiatric disorders were screened out. These participants were asked about their activity levels and the amount of time they spent sitting. After taking MRI scans of the medial temporal lobes, there was a correlation in the thickness of this area in relation to the levels of sitting as opposed to standing. The group that had the thinnest medial temporal lobe was the group that did the most sitting. The study also found that the level of exercise did not have as great an effect as the level of standing.

https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/taking-stand-against-prolonged-sitting

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