Celery strengthens your bones

Here is a video of a bunny eating celery

Apium graveolens or ‘celery’ which resembles the shape and length of the radial bone in the arm. Ironically, eating celery is really good for your bones.bone

Now, I’m not a celery hater in anyway, but I’ve noticed these past few months, celery popping up in my soups, stir-fry meals and even burgers I’ve purchased from the University cafeteria. If its not needed, don’t add it, I say! Celery, be gone!

Rant over-

So a large stalk of celery contains a tonne (18.8 mg to be exact) of vitamin K. Now Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and has been found to play a role in calcium usage by your bones, which help to prevent fractures whilst strengthening them.

Scientists have shown that a lot of Vitamin K is associated with greater bone density and low levels of it correspond with osteoporosis (which means “porous bones”), which increase the risk of you having fractures.

Celery is also packed with a tonne of calcium too (more than Vitamin K) which we all know is so good for the bones.

What I always like discovering are these “super foods” that seem to have special substances that can fight against cancer.

For instance, celery contains a substance called ‘apigenin’ (which is also found in parsley) that have been found by scientists to induce death in breast cancer cells in mice. The scientists who ran this study also found that in ‘apigenic’-mice, the blood vessels responsible for these cancer cells shrunk in diameter, meaning less blood flow to these cells, basically starving them of their nutrients.

So there are some pretty cool studies on this, although they are in early stages, its comforting to know that scientists are looking at Mother Earth to investigate some of the biggest problems and issues mankind faces.

Also, celery is commonly labelled as a “negative calorie” food. Every stalk of celery contains about 5 or so “food” calories, but it takes about the same amount of calories to digest it which it some sense cancels it out BUT this means you are not giving your body the fuel it needs. So don’t be silly, eating celery alone as a source of energy is not good or healthy eating, I’m no diet expert, but I definitely know what keeps me going through the day, and if you are like the rabbit in the video that sits around doing nothing all day, then go for it. Otherwise, cover order yourself a tub of peanut butter and you’re away!

“Eating celery to lose weight is like trying to build a mountain by transferring specks of sand one by one” -FitDay

That’s it for the celery story.

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/myth-or-fact-celery-has-negative-calories.html#b

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Celery_cross_section.jpg?uselang=en-gb

<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/apigenin-celery-parsley-breast-cancer_n_1525717.html>

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RightHumanPosteriorRadiusUlna.jpg

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Screw Mayonnaise

I love this. My food preferences or hates are not going to affect you living your life in any way. Unless we are connected via placenta

Thought Catalog

Don’t you hate those people who talk about their diets all the time? They go on and on about how they’re “so into lentils right now,” and how they’ve stopped eating gluten because it’s bad for everyone, and how they’ve never been to a Taco Bell and want to keep that streak alive. Well, I’m basically that person. Sorry to be so annoying.

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I, as any patriotic American, love food with all my heart, yet certain foods make me angrier and more disturbed than anything else in the world.

For instance: cookies? Delicious. Mashed potatoes? Nothing better has ever been invented (and I’m including all inventions in my considerations, not merely edible ones). Hamburgers? I worship those meat patties at a special ground beef church every Sunday. Et cetera, et cetera. Clearly you can see my patriotic devotion and dedication to the culinary…

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Tell me what to eat computer!

Check out this interesting video. We are part of a forever developing technological world. This video talks about computers understanding our individual preferences for food and will eventually be in a world where they can tell us recipes that we will like and are healthy for us. This will most likely be beneficial to those who are diabetic, glutoce and lactose-in tolerant. However, ’til then we’ll just have to rely on our trusty taste buds and tummy.

Bread Crust Prevents Bowel Cancer?

 

I was thinking of getting a perm one day but wanted to save some money so decided to go on a bread crust binge, unfortunately, I was told that bread crust giving you curly hair is a complete lie! My life is a lie after hearing this, from the carrots giving you night-vision and now this! Another painful stab to my childhood…..but I wonder if bread crust has any real purpose or health benefit?

I went off search for the truth about crust, and this is what I found, which was a little surprising.

The crusty bits on bread actually contain “powerful antioxidants” that apparently combat cancer WOW, okay I’m a little sceptical on this one, but I’ll try my best to understand how and why this might be .

In 2009, ‘The Telegraph’ in the UK reported that the antioxidant called ‘pronyl-lysine’ is released during the baking process of bread, which apparently can prevent the development of bowel cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in the developed world.

A couple of scientists in Germany actually discovered this, and other scientists in Indian found that rats who were consuming this antioxidant were at lower risks of developing lesions in the colon compared to those who were not on the same antioxidant rich diet

The antioxidant is 8 times more abundant in the crust than the rest of the loaf. This may also be another reason why wholemeal bread is much healthier than white bread! 

This study was  published in a prestigious journal reporting on the beneficial properties of bread crust.However, these scientists still could not at this point figure out how much crust you will need to eat to reap the full benefits of the antioxidant, but I could imagine a vast amount of exposure on a daily basis is essential.

“It’s too big a leap to conclude from this study that eating bread crusts could prevent bowel cancer in humans” a Cancer Researcher Nell Barrie explains, and human studies on this do not exist.

So you couldn’t directly link the consumption of bread crust (full of this anti-oxidant) to the prevention of bowel cancer, and well you wouldn’t really want to tell someone who has bowel cancer they didn’t eat enough bread crust. We all eat bread (most of us anyway), and I am sure many bowel cancer patients do too, so as lovely as the thought of bread crust saving us from cancer is, we cannot completely rely on such studies.

However, good diet is thought to help protect against the disease and eating high-fibre foods, such as wholemeal bread, is already recommended to reduce the risks.

Like everything else, regular exercise and cutting down on everything bad in this world including alcohol and exposure to reality TV should be done in moderation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5874395/Eating-crusts-protects-against-bowel-cancer.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-11/acs-bca11o402.php

 

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Sea Urchin gonads…Mmmm

Sea Urchin or as we (Maori) call them kina!

Well it might be a shock to some of you, but underneath those dangerous spikes is something I love so so much.

If I were to describe it to you it would go something like this. A yellowish soft, creamy and smooth texture some people like to call the tongue, which in fact is the gonads of the kina, but we’ll stick to tongue in this blog. It is a kiss from the sea, one of the deep darkest most delicious secrets which I hope remain just that forever.

I remember my very first taste of kina, my grandmothers were shelling a big bag of them for a  family feast in my hometown, Kaikohe. I was amazed at their method of opening these creatures with either two spoons to create halves or a big knife right through it. Every now and then, the shellers would take a juicy slurp of one slimy, smooth creamy kina tongue. Mmmm doesn’t that sound delicious?

I wanted to explore the science behind the kina and what benefits it has to us!

In science it is common to use animal models to study those big scary human diseases. Last year, I worked in the anatomy department and it researchers would use mice and rat models to study neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimers Disease and Parkinsons Disease.

However, never have I heard of sea urchins being used to do the same thing. In the case of Alzheimers research, the sea urchin embryo was used to study the molecular mechanisms that underpin this disease, since humans share around 7000 genes with kina (weird right!), we can take advantage of these similarities to study human diseases.

So it might be a little weird considering we don’t have a thousand needles protruding from our bodies like these sea creatures, and I particularly found it weird that something I consider a delicacy is being used to study a neuro-degenerative disease. So my love for neuroscience and seafood has been wrapped into one one big ball. Call me a geek if you life, but this is pretty weird and cool.

The benefits to the consumer you ask?

Well when you taste this heavenly substance, the benefits don’t really matter, but they are in fact low in fat, rich in protein and a very low in calorie content, but to be honest something as good as kina, again, you wouldn’t really fuss about the details.

A delicacy in Japanese cuisine and polynesian foods, I do hope it doesn’t hit the mainstream market and remains a secret for us all. My goal here was not to convince you that kina is delicious, as I would rather most of the world not like it at all. More for me I say!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19135026

Soy Mocha please

800px-Latte_art

The first time I really had coffee was in my first year at University. Ughh, disgusting

However, for the sake of socialising, I needed to impress my new friends at the time and wanted to show I could be just as classy. I saw it as a way to break the ice when forming a new relationship with someone. Like you see on the movies “Oh I had coffee with so and so the other day”- officially coffee buddies.

Now, coming from South Auckland, pie dates were much more popular than coffee ones. We did not have coffee shops down the street, only a bunch of dairies on every corner, so this coffee business was new to me.

I followed my friends lead as she ordered a soy mocha for herself, and from that day on, I have always ordered soy mocha. It allowed me to indulge in a bit of chocolate love whilst sophisticating my way around the bitterness of the caffeine. 6 years experience, I think I am  an expert at drinking coffee.

So, is coffee an acquired taste? What do we get from it? Besides bad breath and maybe some good chat (hopefully not dependent on the coffee).

I feel its almost a tool we use to distract from the awkward silences one has during conversations. It also acts as a secondary topic of conversation Wow, this coffee could do with a little more milk Until something new comes to mind. Fortunately, I haven’t had many of those awkward encounters, as I like to believe I choose great coffee buddies (so cheers to all my coffee dates out there).

So, why would anyone like to indulge in this bitter concoction. Is it an acquired taste? Well from personal experience, once I had a few coffees throughout my first year, I began to enjoy it a little more, but again it could be that the context in which I had the coffee was enjoyable. However, I still agree with the acquired taste theory.

It is widely known that coffee is a great source of energy, especially at 8.30am and 3.30pm. I think people rely on it so much to get them through their days. I know of people who work in demanding jobs who need to have the caffeine fix every single day, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this. I had my 3.30pm fix today, and yes the same old soy mochaccino.

What do us coffee drinkers get out of it?

Well bad breath for sure, it is essential you carry mints or breath fresheners with you to eliminate the taste and smell that lingers on your tongue. A nice wee article I found online (see 1 below) spoke about the benefits of coffee, and a major one looked at the relationship between coffee and Type II diabetes, apparently studies have shown a strong correlation between the two. That coffee drinkers compared to non-coffee drinkers are less-likely to have Type II diabetes. The article even went to the extreme to say it reduced the likelihood of developing Parkinsons Disease and Dementia- but I haven’t checked out the evidence to support this- so I’m not too sure how strong this statement is.

It’s interesting for people to believe they become more productive after a cup of coffee. Their brains work better, they work more efficient. Again, as a self-proclaimed neuroscientist, I wanted to look into this a bit more.

So when you wake up in the morning, your neurons in your hard working brain are firing away electrical signals as they do. As a result of this, they produce adenosine and this is sensed by your nervous system via Adenosine receptors. Adenosine has been associated with inducing sleep, and this ladies and gentlemen is probably why you find it hard to wake up in the morning. Whenever, someone tells me they are a morning person, I look to them and say “You lie! You had coffee this morning”- No such thing as a morning person.

So back to your morning routine, you decide to make yourself a cup of coffee to wake up a little. When the caffeine enters your system, it acts as an Adenosine-impersonator as this website likes to call it (2). What this means is that caffeine competes with the adenosine for the same receptor and blocks it from making you “fall asleep”. So it has the opposite effect on your brain and induces activeness and awakeness.

I like to see it as Caffeine and Adenosine are twin brothers and are competing for the same girl (receptor) at a party (morning). Adenosine is a little boring and the girl falls asleep, the party dies BUT when Caffeine enters the room, the girl is interested and she wants to get to know Adenosine’s brother. They hit it off because Caffeine probably plays rugby or is quarter back if we want to go American (intentional stereotype) and the girl is having the time of her life, while the party picks up and everyone is having a good time.

So when caffeine binds to these adenosine receptors in your brain, they induce dopamine activity (this is probably why it has been associated with Parkinson’s Disease), thus you become more awake and in a way brain activity increases! but hey I’m pretty sure you already knew that!

When you take caffeine hits on a regular basis, your body and mind build up this tolerance, and I’m sure many of you again could relate to this, however, no one really knows how exactly you build this tolerance for caffeine, and you probably notice you could have more caffeine than the first time you had it get the same effects.

I am over the bitter taste of coffee, probably because I drown the stuff in sugar and it works wonders for me in the morning. However, I could do with a pie date now and then. Mince pie, steak and cheese, chick cranberry and brie Mmmm. Don’t get me started

Happy socialising everyone!

(1) http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/coffee-new-health-food

(2) http://lifehacker.com/5585217/what-caffeine-actually-does-to-your-brain

“Marmageddon”

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Here is one most of us Kiwi kids can relate to- Marmite!

I’m not really the biggest fan of marmite. Now if you don’t know what marmite taste like, I will try my best at describing it for you. A bitter, tangy smooth sticky spread that looks like dried up oil on the Gulf of Mexico (or Tauranga Harbour- if you wanna get local).

It was absolutely ridiculous it even made New Zealand headlines that the production of marmite had ceased due to damage caused by the earthquake in Christchurch. Even the Prime Minister made a television appearance to calm the nation. Ah, first world problems.

Nearly 6 months after production stopped,New Zealanders were rushing to supermarket shelves to buy the very last stock of marmite. Taking photos of their marmited-toast and the famous marmite & chip sandwiches, then posting them on social media networks (I hate food photos- I did take one in my life and I apologise to all my friends who had to see the amazing roast I cooked, but it was important). Seriously, it made me wonder if people even liked it or they were only enjoying the fact they had one of the last marmite supplies in NZ.

I wanted to know why people were going crazy all of a sudden over the loss of marmite. Is it something to do with the fact its a NZ product? Is it a childhood attachment?

Or is it there something so good about marmite, we can’t resist?

“Scientists” label marmite as a “superfood”.

I dove into the depths of my knowledge system which I like to call google, and found that marmite is really made up of left over yeast by-products discarded from breweries (gross). So really in beer factories, all the left over mushy yeast stuff is transferred over to the marmite factory- Mmm sounds appealing.

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They make a paste from the left over liquid by adding a lot of salt and more processing to get that smooth, shiny texture we are familiar with, which still reminds me of oil.  It is claimed that marmite is rich in a lot of vitamins, especially Vitamin B, however, during its processing more vitamins and so-called “minerals” are added to it- apparently this is why the Danish government wanted it banned.

The good thing about marmite (obviously not so much the taste), is its NIACIN-rich properties- a vitamin that is lacked from normal human diets- which a deficiency can lead to a tonne of issues for your body, including scurvy. Including niacin in your diet can help boost the body’s defences against staphylococcus bacteria. Really it is great for your immune system!

It also contains folic acid, now if you have been in hibernation for the past decade, there was the big debate about putting folic acid into all our breads to prevent unborn-babies from developing neural tube defects, marmite apparently can provide you with the essential amount of folic acid to also prevent this from happening. So if you’re trying for a baby (this can only work for females-sorry lads), maybe a bit of marmite in your diet could help with your baby’s neural development.

As the saying goes, you either “love it or hate it”- I am not crazy about it, in fact I found a container of marmite only half-eaten, I actually don’t remember purchasing it, so I’m assuming a flatmate of mine purchased it 2 years ago- Safe? Yes. Other marmite studies say it takes over so many years for the marmite to decompose. So I will wait for the next shut down of the marmite factory and sell this black gold to some sucker muahaha!

When I do have marmite (as a last resort), I like mine to not dominate my toast or bread, and include a little more marge to dilute the strong taste of the over-powering marmite.

Now that production has commenced I’m expecting some great artistic photos from my friends of their marmite on toast. Ah thanks guys!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/9504293/Marmite-the-latest-superfood.html