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January 30, 2013

Less known “islands in the sun”

Try to locate yourself the islands on the map
In an attempt to entice visitors, some Caribbean islands like to boast of their many offerings, which range from hotels with luxe facilities and lively nightlife to duty-free shopping, gambling and sightseeing attractions galore.You won't find any of that on the two-dozen or so smaller Caribbean islands, where a slower pace is the main attraction. There are no traffic jams, no noisy parties that keep you up nights and no big chain hotels in these places. Accommodation -- for visitors who stay the night -- is typically in villas, inns and cottages.What many of these charming off-the-beaten-track islands do offer is long stretches of deserted beaches, great snorkeling and a laid-back vibe that makes it easy to unwind. Best of all, they can be reached by a short plane or ferry ride from their sister islands. Here are a few:
TOBAGO   
When Trinidadians want to get away from it all — especially on weekends or after the month-long party that is carnival, they head to Tobago, their sister island, where the pace slow and there’s a beach to meet every want.Options range from scenic King’s Bay, backed by lush green hills, and secluded Englishman’s Bay on the north coast, to the calm, clear waters of Great Courland Bay, or the popular coral beach Pigeon Point, from where you can take a cruise to Buccoo Reef for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the country. Bird watchers enjoy guided field trips into the forest both on Tobago and Little Tobago, which is a 180-hectare bird sanctuary. For something unique to the island, check out the Buccoo Goat and Crab Race Festival in April around Easter.Getting there: Fly from Trinidad (30 km away), Barbados or Grenada. A ferry takes 3.5 hours. For more, visit the Tobago tourist board at http://visittobago.gov.tt.
BARBUDA   
If there's one lasting impression of Barbuda it's the long stretches of white and pink sand beaches -- 27 km to be exact -- that are almost always deserted. Only 1,200 people live on Antigua's sister island, and visitors have yet to arrive in any substantial numbers, so it's always quiet.
 Activities range from scuba diving (there are 73 shipwrecks offshore) and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, or the popular horse races that take place twice a month. If you only have time for one tour, hop on a motorboat to the Codrington Lagoon National Park, which has one of the world's largest colonies of frigate birds. You'll see dozens of them flying overhead and perched on the mangroves. An exciting time to visit is during mating season (September to April), when the male birds inflate their scarlet-colored throat-sacs to the size of a balloon to attract a female frigate bird.

Getting there: Fly from Antigua in 15 minutes or take the Barbuda Express ferry ,which leaves Antigua daily at 8:30 a.m. (for the 90-minute trip) and returns at 5 p.m. For more, visit Antigua & Barbuda Tourism at Antigua-barbuda.ca.
CARRIACOU   
Grenada is such a tranquil island, it's hard to imagine anything more laid-back -- until you visit its sister island Carriacou, 37 km to the northeast. Some Caribbean guidebooks don't even mention this peaceful hilly place, which gives you an idea of how off-the-radar it is. All the more reason for hideaway-seekers to check it out.The Belair Viewpoint offers a sweeping panorama of the coastline studded with bays fringed by coconut palms and offshore islets. One of them is nearby Sandy Island, which has extensive coral reefs and is considered to have the best snorkelling in Grenada.The population of 7,000 includes a mix of cultures and ethnicities. Those of African descent predominate, but there are also pockets of English in Hillsborough (the main town), French around L'Esterre, and Scottish -- who brought their boat-building skills to the island and mainly reside in the town of Windward.Time your arrival to coincide with one of the many annual events including turtle-nesting season at Petite Carenage Bay (March-September); the popular summer Regatta; or Carnival, a pre-Lenten celebration which runs from Feb. 8-12 this year.Getting there: Fly from Grenada (20 minutes), Barbados (45 minutes) and the Union Islands (5 minutes), or take the 90-minute Osprey Ferry Service from Grenada, departs for Cariacou daily. For more, visit the Grenada Board of Tourism at grenadagrenadines.com.
SABA   
Saba's appeal lies in the fact it is unlike almost every other Caribbean island. Don't expect great beaches (there aren't any), but do expect bragging rights to a) flying into one of the shortest airstrips in the world, b) traveling on "The Road" that many engineers said could never be built (the island is volcanic and has no flat land), and c) exploring one of the world's premier scuba-diving destinations.One of the smallest islands belonging to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Saba's storybook-like villages include The Bottom -- appropriately named since this capital rests in the bowl of a valley -- to the lofty Hells' Gate, a somewhat unlikely name for a town that is home to Holy Rosary Church! Charming white houses with red roofs, wooden shutters (usually green) and gingerbread trim give the island's architecture a pleasing homogenous appearance. Aside from diving, visitors can snorkel the shallow reefs, climb 1,064 steps to Mt. Scenery -- Saba's highest spot -- or relax and chat with locals, a few of whom still make lace the traditional way.Getting there: Take a 12-minute flight, or the Dawn II ferry (runs three times a week) or The Edge boat (runs Wednesday-Sunday) from St. Maarten. For more, visit the Saba Tourist Bureau at sabatourism.com.

January 27, 2013

Secret power of vegetables

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So whether you eat your seven to nine servings a day or, like 77 percent of Americans, you can't find a veggie anywhere on your dinner plate, here are five little-known powers of vegetables:
1. A vegetable-rich diet makes it easier to quit smoking: People who eat the most veggies are three times more likely to quit smoking and stay smoke-free than the veggie-deprived.
2. Asparagus prevents a hangover: Phytonutrients in asparagus help metabolize chemicals that produce the morning-after headache.
3. Kids who eat their veggies have higher IQs: Breast-fed babies who went on to eat legumes, cheese, fruit and vegetables at 15 and 24 months had IQs that were an average of two points higher by age 8.
4. Veggie-eating adults have bigger brains: Getting plenty of plant-based vitamins C, D, E and the Bs plus omega-3 fatty acids protects against Alzheimer's-associated brain shrinkage - and that strengthens memory and thinking skills.
5. Veggies make you happier: And happier means less stress, better sex, fewer wrinkles, fewer colds and a longer life.





January 22, 2013

"Spartacus:War of the Damned" is upon us in its final seson

At first glance, it appears to be a show for men with all the sex, blood and violence. But some of the best and most complicated female characters can be found in the show. Since the very first season, Starz Spartacus has been a showcase for fascinating female characters and for the actors who play them.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Naevia in Spartacus: War of the Damned, copyright Starz Entertainment.

 That will be no different in the final season, Spartacus: War of the Damned, premiering Friday night, January 25th, on the Starz network.

“The show is known for the sex and violence but what keeps viewers coming back are the relationships and the love between the characters,” said Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays Naevia, the longest surviving female character on the show. Naevia’s sometimes star-crossed love story with Crixus (Manu Bennett), a former gladiator turned rebel, has been woven through all the show’s seasons.

The women of this final season, Laeta (Anna Hutchison), Saxa (Ellen Hollman), and Naevia, are a fascinating trio: the Roman woman suddenly a widow fighting to survive in the midst of a war, the fierce German warrior who will match any man in love or war, and Naevia, who has come into her own.

The common thread among the women was how excited they were to have been part of the show and how thrilled they are to see the final product, as much is added in post-production after they finished their work.

In an interview Addai-Robinson said the experience was so confidence-building that she felt “ready for anything,” perhaps even a musical. Ellen Hollman, who plays Saxa, is a comic geek and said her dream job would be to play Ms. Marvel, now Captain Marvel, a super-powered Marvel Comics character. (Joss Whedon, new Marvel Movie and Television guru, are you listening?) Anna Hutchison, a former Power Ranger who starred in Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, said she’s done horror and now “outrageous drama” and now she’s ready to try some comedy.


Ellen Hollman as Saxa in Spartacus: War of the Damned, image copyright Starz. 

“It’s been an amazing gift that’s been given to me to take the character from one extreme to the other,” said Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who took on the role of Naevia in Spartacus: Vengeance. Addai-Robinson began her role as Naevia was a prisoner in a mine where slaves are worked to death. By the end of the season, she was exacting a measure of vengeance against the man responsible for putting her there. Her love for Crixus kept her alive.
“Crixus is the light at the end of the tunnel for her,” Addai-Robinson said. When I expressed concern about the eventual ending for the lovers–characters die on this show with regularity– she said the ending was bittersweet but may leave room for some “positives,” even though their real-life historical counterparts didn’t survive the rebellion. “At the end of the day, it’s a television and there are some surprises,” she said.

Ellen Hollman said this year, viewers will see “Hurricane Saxa,” and said she’s the female version of Gannicus this season in that she never apologies for anything. She’s also paired up (or threesomed up?) with Gannicus in the first episode of the season.

Like most of the cast members, all three women had to attend gladiator camp, a four-week program of five days a week, four hours a day of intense physical activity designed to get all the actors into shape for the demanding show before shooting starts.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Addai-Robinson said. “While Naevia was learning from Crixus in the show, Cynthia was learning from the stunt guys.” She also said the confidence she gained in filming the show would stay with her. “We’re all in this bubble, and we need each other’s support to inhabit the roles properly and they especially helped me get there. I don’t know if I ever dreamed of doing something like this and to take that away was big, in that they saw more in me than maybe I originally saw in myself.”

The trio said all the cast members were nothing but supportive. Hutchison said everyone made her feel immediately welcome. “It was a great way to join the cast and after that connection from the camp, you feel safe acting with them.”

Hollman took the focus on being in shape one step farther. She had no stunt double on the show. ”It was a once in a lifetime role and I wanted to bring my A game. I wanted the challenge.”

She said her countless hours of training pays off on screen in her fight sequences. She said it’s a little surreal that she no longer has to fight for her life on the battlefield and laughed, joking that walking around Los Angeles without a sword or weapon seems so odd after being so immersed in the show’s world. “We call it post-traumatic Spartacus syndrome.” She said, proudly, that the show left her with a permanent reminder: a four-inch scar on her quad. A comic geek who owns Rogue’s first appearance, she hopes to stay in the action genre while she’s in optimum shape. Hollman wanted to add a mention for "Visual Impact Now", her non-profit organization dedicated to providing eye care to Los Angeles youth that she founded during the writer’s strike. She does need glasses, she said, but generally wears contacts. “It wouldn’t be right to have Saxa wearing them,” she added with a laugh.

Anna Hutchison as Laeta in Spartacus: War of the Damned, image copyright Starz

Hutchison, the former Power Ranger in Power Rangers: Jungle Fury, came in as the newcomer to the show, following the footsteps of the Roman women played by Lucy Lawless (Lucretia) and Viva Bianca (Ilithyia). Hutchison has a fine first appearance as Laeta in episode 2. “We’re all trying to survive,” she said. “Laeta was an incredible journey because she starts with all these pretty dresses and a home and ends up fighting for her life. For me, one of the cool things taking this role was researching how the women were treated in this time period and how different it is from today.”
Hutchison gave credit to Lawless and Bianca for paving the way for how she played the role.Without giving too much away, Laeta’s point of view, especially in how she wants to protect the Roman citizens of a city that Spartacus attacks, adds another layer to the show, allowing viewers to see how sometimes even those fighting for the right thing–freedom–can impact seemingly innocent bystanders.

 The three women are excited for the premiere this week, especially the other cast members and crew, for which they had nothing but praise.

Original article can be found here:http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2013/01/women-of-spartacus-war-of-the-damned/

January 20, 2013

Telltale visible signs of aging may predict heart disease

A new study identifies a receding hairline at the temples, baldness on the top of the head, horizontal earlobe creases and yellow, fatty deposits around the eyes as markers of aging associated with heart disease. Got any three? Your chance of a heart attack goes up 57 percent.
But you can slash your risk by up to 60 percent and look younger, too, if you adopt some heart-smart habits:
1. Eliminate the five food felons: trans fats, most saturated fats, added sugars, sugar syrups and all grains that are not 100 percent whole. Add heart-friendly food (salmon and trout), or take up to 900 milligrams a day of omega-3 DHA.
2. Exercise and sleep more: Your goal: 10,000 steps a day; strength training two to three times a week; seven to eight hours of nightly shuteye. (Thirty minutes of exercise a day boosts restorative REM sleep by 65 percent.)
3. Go by the numbers: Blood pressure -- 115/75; triglycerides -- 100 or less; HDL -- 60 or above; LDL under 100; blood glucose -- 85 upon waking up; and BMI -- 18.5 to 24.9.
4. Ask your doc about taking two baby aspirins a day (with warm water before and after).   
5. After all that, have more fun (including sex)!  People who are more satisfied with their life produce fewer stress hormones, which protects your heart, big-time. 
Health tips are based on the Drs Oz and Roizen publications.

January 18, 2013

Where Does My Money Go?

The annual energy bill for a typical single home is approximately $2,200.
Where Does My Money Go bar chart
Expense Percentage
Heating 29%
Cooling 17%
Water Heating 14%
Appliances 13%
Lighting 12%
Electronics 4%
Other 11%
Heating
Cooling
Water Heating
Appliances (includes refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer)
Lighting
Electronics (includes computer and monitor and TV and DVD player)
Other* (includes external power adapters, telephony, set-top boxes, ceiling fans, vent fans and home audio)
Source: Typical House Memo, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2009 and Typical house_2009_Reference.xls spreadsheet.
Average price of electricity is 11.3 cents per kilo-watt hour. Average price of natural gas is $13.29 per million Btu.
* "Other" represents an array of household products, including stoves, ovens, microwaves, and small appliances like coffee makers and dehumidifiers.

January 17, 2013

Second Language Could Help Brain Later in Life

Bilingual seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood showed their thinking skills were quicker than individuals who only spoke one language. A lifetime of speaking two different languages might be able to help keep the brain sharper in older people, said researchers of the recently completed study.
Included in the study were seniors who were between the ages of 60 and 68 and were listed as being healthy. Two groups were formed in the study. One was made up of people who had been bilingual since their childhood and one was made up of people who were monolingual their entire lives, or who spoke just one language. While participating in different tasks using their brains, the participants were monitored.
Compared to participants who spoke just one language, the bilingual seniors were faster at switching from one task to another when requested. It also took less energy from the frontal area of the bilingual individual’s brain to make each switch.
These new findings suggest that seniors who are bilingual can use their brains more efficiently compared to seniors who have always been monolingual. The lead author said his study’s results suggest that being bilingual for a lifetime might exert its best benefits during aging on the frontal regions of the person’s brain.
Younger adults who were both monolingual as well as bilingual were tested and results found that bilingual individuals at a younger age did not have any advantage over their monolingual counterparts in switching from mental task to mental task and their brain patterns remained equal to those of people who were monolingual.

(June 2015) One study  showed that the  bilingual patients had been diagnosed about 4 years later and had reported the onset of symptoms about 5 years later than the monolingual patients. The groups were equivalent on measures of cognitive and occupational level, there was no apparent effect of immigration status, and the monolingual patients had received more formal education. There were no gender differences.



January 13, 2013

Is it the flu or norovirus ? How to tell the difference

While it seems nearly everyone in Boston is sick or recovering from some kind of ailment, many are wondering what they’ve come down with and how to best manage their symptoms. Do they have the flu or the stomach flu? Is it possible to have both at once?
Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, vice chair and clinical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s emergency department, told me he’s seeing a lot of patients with influenza -- aka the flu -- and some with an intestinal bug that’s circulating called norovirus -- aka the “cruise ship” virus.
How do you tell the difference between the two?
At first blush, it seems fairly simple. The flu is an upper respiratory infection that causes sore throat, chills, body aches, runny nose, and coughing. Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness that causes diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Both can lead to severe dehydration if you don’t drink enough fluids.
“Both infectious diseases are very common and very contagious,” said Kosowsky. “It’s not inconceivable to get both this season.”
Usually the body doesn’t come down with two infections at once, but it can get infected with one bug right after the other if the immune system is weakened.
Many people, though, who have been infected with this season’s Type A flu strain that’s predominant in the Boston area have developed gastrointesintal symptoms -- vomiting, stomach cramps, mild diarrhea -- on top of their cough and runny nose.
“There is some overlap between flu and norovirus symptoms this year,” said Kosowsky, and it’s probably due to the nasty H3N2 strain that’s circulating and causing more severe flu symptoms than normal.
But, he emphasized, the vomiting and diarrhea associated with norovirus tends to be more explosive and intense.
Both conditions should be managed by getting plenty of rest, taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce fever and aches, and avoiding close contact with others for the first few days. Drink plenty of fluids, and if you aren’t able to eat much solid food, make sure those fluids contain some salt and sugar -- juice, soup, sports drinks, for example -- to keep your electrolytes in balance. Materials from Boston.com.

See also Natural Flu remedies in this blog.

January 11, 2013

Why no Oscar love for Cloud Atlas?


Among the predictable movies among yesterday’s Oscar nominations, Cloud Atlas was conspicuously absent. Cameron wonders what happened...
When Seth McFarlane joked "breath of fresh air" after the well known list of nominees for Best Supporting Actor were read out at yesterday's Oscar nominations announcement, his remark could have been aimed at the whole bland list - in every category.
Regardless of the predictability we see each year (not a new phenomenon, by any means) and the safety of the nominations (that's not my argument here), surely the fact that last year's Cloud Atlas - one of the most bold, challenging and imaginative films of the 21st century - is an embarrassment to the Academy and what they stand for.
Cloud Atlas is proof that truly original, thought-provoking and intelligent blockbusters can be produced, and produced well. This is exactly the sort of work they should be championing: work that excites, infuriates and fires the brain cells. It also displays huge creativity and workmanship on a scale rarely seen in the multiplexes these days.
That's what is so perplexing; the quality of the talent in the film have gone completely unnoticed.
I mentioned the Supporting Actor category earlier, and whilst I wouldn't suggest that Cloud Atlas had Oscar-winning performances, they were certainly noteworthy and fascinating in equal measure. But I wouldn't have been that surprised to find that Jim Broadbent, Ben Whishaw or Doona Bae had been nominated for their multiple roles. Heck, even Tom Hanks is mesmerisingly enthralling in a disturbing way.
But it's behind the camera where Cloud Atlas truly excels. In all honesty, I would have thought it would have easily won Film Editing without contestation. Alexander Berner expertly weaves the seemingly interlocking tales like a conductor, with swift, seamless and thoughtful moves between time zones. But not even a nomination.
Similarly, the sublime score, which forms such a central part of the story and lifts the very narrative it inhabits, is one of the most incredible soundtracks I've heard this side of Blade Runner (another film the Academy largely ignored). Yet, not even a wink from the Academy. I could go on. The cinematography, provided by Frank Griebe (Run Lola Run) and John Toll (Vanilla Sky) makes you glad you have eyes. But no. Nada.
But there must be some nods in the ‘lesser’ categories (such as Production Design, Make-Up, Sound Editing and Mixing) I thought to myself after Seth and Emma Stone trundled off stage. The Visual Effects are awe-inspiring and spectacularly used - and certainly kick the crap out of Snow White And The Huntsman or even The Avengers. But still nothing in all of these categories - big or small.
So what's the problem? Is the Academy cared of genre? (One also notes no noms for Looper, but don't get me started.) Personally, I wouldn't describe Cloud Atlas as a genre film - it's a tale of humanity, and one would think the Academy has got past that kind of thinking (though evidence isn't strong on that particular argument). Perhaps it's the ‘group’ nature of the film - the direction, the cinematography and the score are all handled by multiple names as opposed to the more traditional single man/woman.
Of course, maybe it was as simple as taste. Perhaps none of the voters liked it or rated it technically sufficient enough to care. Yes, it's a sprawling mess. But in a good way. In a way that embraces film and its ultimate possibilities; and just why its trio of directors, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (who also adapted the original novel for the screen in an ambitious and deserved-a-nomination style), should be lauded for such an audacious and memorable piece of work.
See the original aticle here :http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/24048/why-no-oscar-love-for-cloud-atlas

January 10, 2013

Alkaline Diet:Fad or cancer cure?

The Marchioness of Worcester – environmental campaigner, mother of three, filmmaker and thoroughly modern Marchioness – was diagnosed in 2009 with breast cancer
Photo: CHRISTOPHER JONES

Has the Marchioness of Worcester’s 'alkaline diet’ helped her beat cancer?There’s no evidence that certain foods can cure the disease, despite much research on the subject.

The Marchioness of Worcester – environmental campaigner, mother of three, film-maker and thoroughly modern Marchioness – was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

Who could fail to be cheered by the news that the Marchioness of Worcester – environmental campaigner, mother of three, filmmaker and thoroughly modern Marchioness – is in remission from breast cancer? The Marchioness was diagnosed in 2009. Next year, she will join the 85 per cent of women who survive it longer than five years. Although Tracy, married to the Duke of Beaufort’s heir Harry, has not talked about her cancer before – “it is so boring” – her story is now attracting attention thanks to her controversial views on what aided the treatment.
For while confirming she underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the Marchioness, a former director of the Soil Association, the charity that promotes organic food, added that an “alkaline diet”, which bans processed food, meat and alcohol, helped her overall health. “My doctor said he had never known anyone be quite so well. I would put it down to complementary medicine and 'alkalining’ my body. I am almost religious about it now.”
Despite making clear the diet was an “additional” therapy, the Marchioness’s enthusiasm has caused some concern. Will the alkaline diet find its way into the panoply of cancer “cures” at the expense of mainstream medicine?
Diet-based alternative cancer regimes are not new, many draw heavily on a system developed by the German physician Max Gerson in the 1920s, which suggests that cancer is due to the accumulation of unspecified toxins. To rid the body of these, the patient must eat a predominantly vegetarian diet, including hourly glasses of organic juice and dietary supplements. Patients also receive enemas of coffee, castor oil and even hydrogen peroxide.
By contrast, Tracy Worcester’s diet sounds relatively normal: treatment centers on making body fluids such as urine less acidic apparently by increased consumption of raw vegetables, supplements such as omega 3, and avoiding meat. The claims of efficacy centers on theories that acid somehow “fosters” disease, or that cancer cells can grow faster in an acid environment.
Thousands of studies are carried out on foodstuffs to see if eating or avoiding them will have an effect on cancerous cells. We are assailed by well-researched accounts of the benefits of vegetables and fruits.
However, we know the vast majority of cancer is due to environmental factors: researchers from the University of Texas put it at 90-95 per cent in a 2006 report in the journal Pharmaceutical Research. Their conclusions? Cancer prevention involves increased ingestion of fruits and vegetables, moderate intake of alcohol, caloric restriction, exercise, minimal meat consumption and use of whole grains.
But the key is that this is preventive advice – not the basis of a curative regime. Jean Slocombe, Cancer Research UK’s senior information nurse, says: “Many breast cancer patients feel better and more in control of their illness when they do something proactive such as following a certain diet. But there is no strong scientific evidence to suggest that eating organic foods and following alternative diets can treat breast cancer or reduce the risk of it coming back.”
Robin Pritchard, spokesman for the Dimbleby Cancer Care charity, says: “A lot of research we have funded has found that any kind of complementary therapy can have a really positive effect, improving the sense of wellbeing.”
Learning how to eat healthily may even help recovery, found a 2011 report in the British Journal of Cancer. Evidence suggests that a low-fat, high-fibre diet might be protective against cancer recurrence and progression.
So might the Marchioness’s akaline diet have had more than a placebo effect? 

While countless books suggest alkaline eating can make you slimmer and fitter, scientists point out that the body self-regulates so efficiently that it’s virtually impossible to change the pH balance of its fluids. And the American Institute for Cancer Research warns that the idea that we can become “less acid” is a “myth”. 

Interestingly, though, a 2011 Canadian review in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health of published scientific literature found an alkaline diet could have some benefits, including improved bone health, reduced muscle wasting, as well as mitigating chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes. Lead researcher Dr Gerry Schwalfenberg said: “Alkalinity may result in added benefit for some chemotherapeutic agents that require a higher pH.” 
Read more here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9772928/Has-the-Marchioness-of-Worcesters-alkaline-diet-helped-her-beat-cancer.html 

The case for nuts: Healthiest snack in the cupboard


The case for nuts: Healthiest snack in the cupboard
By Grant Cochrane/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 Almonds, cashews and walnuts have many benefits for your body and brain, research shows.

Almonds: A handful of almonds a day will keep the cardiovascular surgeon away. The lowering of LDL cholesterol, known as the mother of all evil cholesterol, is essential for routine heart pump maintenance. In fact, in those who are at risk of heart disease, the aggressive lowering of LDL cholesterol is necessary. According to the nutty professors at Harvard who study these things, a daily handful of almonds can lower LDL cholesterol enough to reduce cardiovascular disease by a whopping 20 per cent! In some cases, a handful of almonds may be used instead of cholesterol-lowering medication. Almonds are also rich in folate, a vitamin important in keeping hearts, fetuses, bone and brain healthy.
Cashews: Gesundheit. These luxurious nuts are nothing to sneeze at. Cashews are rich in selenium, a mineral shown to protect against prostate cancer. Cashews, like most nuts are best eaten unsalted and raw while the oil is fresh. Like almonds, these nuts are loaded in monounsaturated fats, which is good fat. If “good fat” makes as much sense as “slumber party” or “cat owner,” realize that, like good cholesterol, unsaturated fat acts biochemically to reduce the risk of cancers and coronaries.
Walnuts: Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, walnuts are, like fish, beneficial in lowering cholesterol. They are also rich in arginine, an amino acid important in the synthesis of nitric oxide, which helps relax tense blood vessels.
Pistachios: Pistachios are an excellent source of copper and manganese, and a good source of phosphorus. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin B6 (offering 20 per cent of the daily value per serving) They’re high in fibre, too. A serving of pistachios delivers three grams of dietary fibre (about 12 per cent of the daily value of fibre).
However, these nuts have been known to cause an unfortunate disease known in the medical field as “pistachio nail.” Wrestling vigorously to get at a pistachio may cause scrapes under the tender thumbnail skin, which when further irritated with salt will cause its victim to insert the injured thumb into the mouth.
Peanuts: Peanuts are not your normal nut. In fact, they are legumes. But as we can salt them, roast them and sell them in bulk-food containers, let’s consider them nuts. Peanuts are high in fibre, niacin and a powerful antioxidant called Resveratrol, the same flavenol that gives red wine its reputation as a protector of hearts. Same benefit, less hangover.
While a corn doodle or other empty-carb snack leaves the snacker hungry again in 30 minutes, a handful of nuts satisfies hunger pangs for several hours. Nut snackers actually eat less, lose weight and have less diabetes. Satisfying, high-fat, tasty and highly nutritious.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/health/case+nuts+Healthiest+snack+cupboard/7797133/story.html#ixzz2Hbnhm71P

January 07, 2013

Five Cancer-Fighting Recepies


We don't normally provide cooking recipes here but the simplicity and power of the 5 recipes below changed that.

Cabbage is packed with antioxidants, which have been found to prevent cancer. But really, who is going to sit down to a heaping bowl of cabbage? That's right, no one. But doesn't Cabbage and White Bean Stew sound appetizing? 

Cabbage and White Bean Stew
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 lg rib celery, halved and sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 cups chopped green cabbage
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
16 oz canned tomatoes, with juice
15 oz canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Saute onion for 3 minutes in a large saucepan coated lightly with cooking spray. Add carrots and celery; saute 3 minutes. Add caraway seeds and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in cabbage, water, salt and sugar. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice, breaking them up. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add beans and vinegar. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes until heated through. Stir in parsley. Serve hot with plain non-fat yogurt, if desired.

Source: www.justbeanrecipes.com

Curried Lentils, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp Indian curry paste
10 cardamom pods
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup Green or brown lentils, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 small cauliflower without leaves and stem, cut into small florets
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
Salt and pepper
Natural yogurt (optional)

Heat large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and curry paste, stirring paste thoroughly into onion; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Smash cardamom pods with large knife or meat mallet. Remove small brown seeds (discard pods) and stir into onion mixture along with sweet potatoes; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in lentils and broth; cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add cauliflower and return to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender. Remove from heat; stir in coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand a few minutes before serving with dollop of yogurt, if desired.

Source: www.eatrightontario.ca

Mustard, Beet and Apple Salad
3/4 lb beets
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch granulated sugar
Salt and pepper
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and diced
Belgian endive
Dill sprigs

In saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook beets for about 10 minutes or until tender; peel and dice. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, dill, mustard, garlic, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste; toss with beets and apples. On large serving plate or 4 individual salad plates; arrange Belgian endive leaves like spokes of a wheel. Mound salad mixture in middle; garnish with dill springs.

Source: www.eatrightontario.ca

Mushroom Artichoke Saute over Pasta
1 cup Portobello mushroom,
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 plum tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 medium onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp rosemary, dried
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pasta
Parmesan cheese, to taste

Chop all veggies into bite-sized pieces. Heat oil in large pan while boiling water for pasta. Saute onions and garlic in pan until tender, then add other veggies and sprinkle balsamic vinegar and rosemary over top. Cook pasta while occasionally stirring veggies (lower heat if veggies finish cooking before pasta is done). Serve warm. Add Parmesan, to taste.

Source: www.livestrong.com

Broccoli, Water Chestnut, Carrot, and Red Cabbage Gingered Chicken Stirfry
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp extra light olive oil
6 oz baby carrots
1 1/2 cups red cabbage
2 cups broccoli
1/2 cup sweet peas
120 g water chestnuts, sliced
1 tbsp ginger
2 cloves garlic
113 ml Szechwan stir-fry sauce

Cook chicken in olive oil. Cook through and add vegetables, ginger and garlic. Heat until vegetables are cooked but still have some crunch. Stir in the sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Let sit for sauce to thicken. Serve with brown rice or eat alone.

Source: www.livestrong.com

January 04, 2013

Cut out alcohol if you aim to get slimmer

Beer pintsNew Year dieters should cut alcohol out of their diets to lose weight as it contains hundreds of ‘hidden’ calories, cancer campaigners have said.


Alcohol such as beer has 'hidden' calories Photo: Alamy



Drinkers obtain about 200 calories a day from booze on average, but few know that it is almost as energy-dense as fat, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
It has found that few count ‘liquid calories’ when assessing how much they consume while on a diet.
Meanwhile, Cancer Research has found that almost four out of 10 people break their New Year’s resolutions within a fortnight, while only one in 11 sticks it out to the six-month mark.
Both charities are trying to get people to reduce their alcohol consumption during the traditional January detox, because research indicates the drug causes 13,000 cancer cases every year in Britain.
Kate Mendoza, head of health information at WCRF, said: "The calories in alcoholic drinks account for a significant proportion of a drinker's calorie consumption while providing little, if any, nutritional benefit.

"Cutting down on drinking can have a big effect on weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
"Recent reports have shown that people are unaware of calories in drinks and don't include them when calculating their daily consumption."
She added: "This is important from a cancer perspective because, after smoking, being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor.”
While fat contains nine calories per gram, few people know that pure alcohol comes a close second with seven calories per gram, she noted.
A pint of Stella Artois contains about 255 calories - the same as a Mars bar - while a large (250ml) glass of white wine has roughly 200 calories.
Ms Mendoza added: "There is also strong scientific evidence that alcohol itself is a cancer risk factor - possibly through damaging our DNA - in cancers of the breast, bowel, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and liver."
Drinking alcohol has long been known to have a protective effect on the heart, but doctors say this is only really a benefit in men over 40 and post-menopausal women.
Cancer Research UK, which polled 4,000 adults, found 39 per cent gave up their resolutions within two weeks and only nine per cent lasted to six months.
Close to half of people (45 per cent) blame lack of willpower for their lack of ability to stay the course.
It is challenging people to keep off alcohol and raise money for the charity in January by taking part in its ‘Dryathon’.
The whole article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9774362/Dieters-should-cut-booze-to-ditch-pounds.html

January 03, 2013

Identical twin moms give birth in Ohio on the same day


 Twin mothers Aimee, left, and Ashlee Nelson hold their newborn sons Donavyn Bratten, left, and Aiden Lee Alan Dilts at Summa Akron City Hospital on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in Akron, Ohio. The mothers, 19, gave birth about two hours apart.
Twin mothers Aimee, left, and Ashlee Nelson hold their newborn sons 
Donavyn Bratten, left, and Aiden Lee Alan Dilts
 at Summa Akron City Hospital on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, in Akron, Ohio.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 6:33 PM
Twin sisters Aimee and Ashlee Nelson had their baby boys at the same Akron, Ohio hospital on Dec. 31. Aiden Dilts and Donavyn Bratten were born two hours apart.

Michael Chritton/AP via Akron Beacon Journal

AKRON, Ohio — Aiden and Donavyn didn't wait until New Year's Day to come screaming into the world, but the circumstances of their births are still pretty special: The babies were born about two hours apart to Ohio mothers who are identical twins.

The Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/YQpn3X ) reports that the 19-year-old mothers — Aimee and Ashlee Nelson weren't raised to do things alike and did not plan the births to come at the same time. In fact, their due dates were about a week apart.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/twin-moms-give-birth-day-article-1.1231814#ixzz2GweG69jz

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