Sunday, 31 May 2015
♬ Ba-da-ba-ba-bah, I’m quizzin’ it! ♬
This is the most important question of our time.
Damn, chicken nuggets are really good.
But wait... Are chicken fingers even better?
Ah those chicken nuggets do look nice though.
BAM! SO DO THESE CHICKEN FINGERS.
Yes, you read right. Flab is not always bad. Scientists have discovered that being a little overweight comes with quite a few benefits.
According to several studies, the much-maligned fat cells, the ones that many people jog, sprint, swim, and walk to melt away, boost our energy levels. These fat cells crosstalk with the brain, as was discovered in experiments on laboratory mice. Scientists also indicate that the presence of an optimum number of fat cells in the body enhances longevity and keeps away several age-related symptoms and disorders.
Fat Cells and the Brain
Although the common man continues to treat fat as bad, and fat cells as things to get rid of, scientists have been working with fat cells for several years to uncover their physiological roles and relevance. In an earlier experiment carried out on lab mice, it was found that the hormone leptin produced by fat cells carries information about the amount of energy stored in these tissues in the abdominal region to the central nervous system. Leptin, or the “satiety” hormone, stimulates the brain to trigger signals that suppress the need for taking food. So there is compelling evidence that fat cells in the body communicate with the brain and influence the latter’s actions.
Another study indicates that the hypothalamus region of the brain communicates with adipose or fat tissues and regulates various metabolic processes. According to the findings of this study, the mammalian hypothalamus houses a pacemaker of sorts that monitors and regulates various core biological processes like eating, metabolism of food, and the sleep/wake cycle. This is a 24-hour clock that also influences physical activity and energy levels in individuals.
There are several components like proteins BMAL1 and CLOCK that regulate the 24-hour clock and keep it ticking and working the way it should. BMAL1 and CLOCK are also present within fat cells. In the above-mentioned study carried out on laboratory mice, it was found that animals with mutant varieties of BMAL1 and CLOCK had wayward circadian clock rhythms. These animals also exhibited several metabolic disorders that developed when the normal functionality of the ß cells in the pancreas was hampered.
These landmark studies shed critical insights into the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. The findings from the above-mentioned studies also led scientists to think that having a bit of fat is not that bad, after all. Scientists believe that human beings can benefit significantly from having a body mass index that skims the lower end of the range that is usually considered to be overweight. We need fat to survive!
Fat: Its Effect on the Hypothalamus and Pancreas
According to recent studies, fat cells communicate with the hypothalamus. This region of the brain is responsible for aging, longevity, and maintaining the energy levels of the body. Additionally, the hypothalamus regulates heart rate, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, and the sleep/wake cycle.
The presence of fat cells optimized the functions of the hypothalamus leading to greater energy levels in individuals. The main player in this development is an enzyme nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) produced by fat tissues. NAMPT is involved in production of NAD, one of the energetic substances in the cell that is responsible for maintaining optimal cellular functionality. The scientists discovered that adipose tissues typically produce large quantities of NAMPT and some of it end up in the bloodstream and gets transported to the brain.
In the course of this study, scientists discovered that when there was a lack of the NAMPT enzyme in the fat cells, there was also a considerable drop in the energy levels within the adipose tissues. Although other major organs and muscles of the body remained unaffected by the change in the levels of this enzyme, the hypothalamus exhibited a similar drop in energy levels.
There were also other developments when the amount of this enzyme dropped inside the fat cells and the hypothalamus. An increase in the energy levels of the hypothalamic cells also enhances the functionality of the SIRT1 protein. This protein has been linked to longevity in mice.
These findings should also interest people living with diabetes. Fat cells produce NAMPT, and NAMPT generates nicotinamide mononucleotide that stimulates pancreatic beta cells to churn out more insulin. Although pancreatic cells themselves produce NAMPT, the amount is not adequate. So the pancreas has to depend on the fat cells to supplement its production. So the fat cells also communicate with the pancreas to regulate the production of NAMPT.
However, researchers sound a note of warning. Obesity has been conclusively linked with the development of type 2 diabetes. It is evident that there is a limit up to which the NAMPT enzyme can go on enhancing the functionality of the pancreas. Once this limit is reached, the beneficial effects of NAMPT are negated.
It is evident that a certain amount of fat is necessary for the body to not only maintain its core physiological functions but also for its survival.
How Much Fat is Good?
The findings of the above-mentioned studies will surely interest weight-watchers, and it is natural for them to wonder how much fat is good for the body. Scientists do not yet have an exact answer to this question. They are, however, quick to warn that their findings should in no way be interpreted as a license to go on a binge-eating spree, cancel the gym membership, or stop going for the morning jog around the park. Being on either end of the underweight-morbidly obese spectrum is bad for you.
So here’s the lesson. If you were trying to lose weight, keep at it. But don’t resort to fad diets, starvation, and obsessive exercising to attain an unhealthy body weight. Being a little overweight has long-term benefits. And it is not really surprising that this phenomenon, like many other processes in the body, is linked to the way our brain functions.
Revollo, J., Körner, A., Mills, K., Satoh, A., Wang, T., Garten, A., Dasgupta, B., Sasaki, Y., Wolberger, C., Townsend, R., Milbrandt, J., Kiess, W., & Imai, S. (2007). Nampt/PBEF/Visfatin Regulates Insulin Secretion in ? Cells as a Systemic NAD Biosynthetic Enzyme Cell Metabolism, 6 (5), 363-375 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2007.09.003
Yamada, T., Katagiri, H., Ishigaki, Y., Ogihara, T., Imai, J., Uno, K., Hasegawa, Y., Gao, J., Ishihara, H., Niijima, A., Mano, H., Aburatani, H., Asano, T., & Oka, Y. (2006). Signals from intra-abdominal fat modulate insulin and leptin sensitivity through different mechanisms: Neuronal involvement in food-intake regulation Cell Metabolism, 3 (3), 223-229 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2006.02.001
Yoon, M., Yoshida, M., Johnson, S., Takikawa, A., Usui, I., Tobe, K., Nakagawa, T., Yoshino, J., & Imai, S. (2015). SIRT1-Mediated eNAMPT Secretion from Adipose Tissue Regulates Hypothalamic NAD+ and Function in Mice Cell Metabolism, 21 (5), 706-717 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2015.04.002
Yoshino, J., & Imai, S. (2010). A Clock Ticks in Pancreatic ? Cells Cell Metabolism, 12 (2), 107-108 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2010.07.006Read More Here..
Time to reach in the back of the cupboard to see what stays and what goes.
We all want a well-stocked pantry.
But that can sometimes mean that you've had some ingredients for a while — too long, even. Maybe you bought all those canned vegetables at the grocery store when they were on sale, but how long will they actually last? Here are 10 pantry items that have real expiration dates.
James Ransom / Via food52.com
Dried pasta: Up to 2 years.
Pasta is a staple of every pantry, and when stored properly, some say it can last indefinitely. However, for the best quality, the USDA and most sources recommend keeping pasta no more than two years. Store it in an airtight container (the sealed box is also fine) in a cool, dry place, as the pasta is affected by extreme temperatures and humidity. You should also toss expired dried pasta if the noodles appear blotchy or discolored.
Whole-grain rice: Up to 6 months.
Whole-grain rice and milled rice have very different shelf lives. Whole-grain (brown, red, or black) rice deteriorates faster than milled rice (white, parboiled or pre-cooked) because of the oils in its natural bran layer. When stored in an airtight container, whole-grain rice has a shelf life of 6 months. To make it last longer, stash it in the refrigerator or freezer. On the other hand, if stored properly, milled rice (white, parboiled or pre-cooked) will keep almost indefinitely on the pantry shelf.
White and whole-grain flours: 6 to 9 months, and up to 3 months, respectively.
Like rice, whole-grain flour doesn’t last as long as white flour because the oils from the germ and bran become rancid with age. However, neither last forever. Whole-grain flour will keep for about 3 months and white flour will keep for 6 to 9 months. For the best shelf life, store flour in an airtight container in a cupboard or dry, cool area.
Your new brunch drink has arrived. Boozy and non-alcoholic versions included!
Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed
Raspberry Lemon Iced Tea
Summer never tasted so good. Get the recipe here.
Raspberry Peach Iced Tea
It'll bring all the boys to the yard. Get the recipe here.
via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..
No muss, no fuss.
Vegetable Garden Linguine
Satisfying your pasta craving doesn't have to leave you stuffed. Recipe here.
One-Pan Parmesan-Crusted Salmon with Roasted Broccoli
Maximal awesomeness, minimal clean-up. Recipe here.
Heirloom Caprese Strata
Absolutely the best way to use up leftover bread. Recipe here.
Christine Byrne / Via buzzfeed.com
via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..
Saturday, 30 May 2015
Being one of the few Asians in my school was hard enough. Working at my parents’ Chinese restaurant didn’t make it any easier.
Will Varner / BuzzFeed
Snot gushed from my nostrils as I heaved giant sobs and tried to steady my breathing. I felt so ugly propped on a barstool inside my parents' dingy restaurant. My Chinese textbook laid open on the counter before me, mocking me. In between sniffles, I continued to read aloud from it, jumping slightly every time my mom interrupted.
"Cuo le!" she barked. That means "wrong." I was used to being wrong. At 13, I'd sort of accepted that I'd never be right in my mother's eyes. My fastidious, self-sufficient mother, who'd immigrated to the United States at 20 after marrying my dad and leaving behind her family in Hong Kong.
It was a Sunday, the only day of the week I had neither regular school nor Chinese school. I went to Chinese school, an hour away from my house, every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. My classmates and I spent most of that time reading through a passage with help from our teacher. I hated waking up early on a weekend, commuting, and spending what felt like every second of the day with my mother, but Sundays weren't all that better. At 11 a.m. that day, I'd gone with my mom to China Inn, the restaurant my parents opened when they first moved to Pennsylvania in 1983. Now, 21 years later, as she made all the necessary provisions for lunch, my mother also used this time to quiz me on what I'd learned in Chinese school the previous day.
"How do you still not know this?" she spat in Mandarin, furiously circling all the words I couldn't read from that week's lesson. Although she hadn't said anything particularly cruel, her tone was scathing so every word felt like the lash of a whip. "If you don't learn these words by the end of today, don't even think about doing anything else!" Resentful but too tired to resist, I wrote and rewrote the characters, while also devising mnemonics for remembering them so that I'd pass inspection at the day's end. This scene was repeated pretty much every week.
But as strict and demanding as she is, my mom is not and has never been a ruthless tiger mother. After marveling over what a sensitive kid I was, she would feel sorry for me and explain that all of this tough love was for my own good. "One day you'll understand and thank me" were how the conversations always ended, as she pushed a bowl of rice porridge and shrimp dipped in soy sauce near me. "Eat!" No matter how frustrated she got, she would never let a child go hungry.
Although it's been over a decade since China Inn closed down, I can still vividly recall every detail about the place, especially that taproom where I'd spent so many years of my childhood. An ornate mirror hung on the wall of the stuffy room, which reeked of cigarettes. The surface of the L-shaped bar was usually sticky and lined with an old red cushioning that I'd pick at for hours while pretending to study.
And when I wasn't studying, I was working. Over the years, more Chinese families moved into town, opening up their own businesses. Due to the increase in competition, my parents were forced to lay off employees and put me to work.
Courtesy Susan Cheng
At China Inn, I was terrified of seeing anyone from school, especially those with whom I'd never interacted but was forced to greet. I thought it was unfair that I had to be in a smelly Chinese restaurant serving others while all my friends were out doing whatever typical teenagers do. It only made me feel more alienated from my mostly white peers — some of whom were my friends but no one I could relate to 100 percent. Whereas the other kids in school had grown up familiar with classic pop culture like The Beatles and The Brady Bunch, I knew all the words to popular Chinese folk songs and watched dramas set in Imperial China with my mom. My friends whispered secrets and giggled over jokes that I'd often miss, because conversation was harder for me as a kid who thought first in Mandarin and then in English. And football was their religion. Family was mine.
I'd known that I was different since a friend pointed it out to me in first grade. She'd tapped me on the shoulder, and when I turned to look at her, pulled the corners of her eyelids into slanted slits. From that point on, I dodged anyone's questions and avoided conversations about my ethnicity as not to draw attention to my differences. It wasn't that I wanted to blend in with my peers or erase my culture. I just didn't want my heritage to be the only thing that defined me.
But as I grew up, things only got more confusing. I wanted to be accepted by my peers, and I wanted to appease my parents. But there was a part of me that wanted to be my own person, which meant disappointing my parents. Instead of a disciplined, studious child and dutiful daughter, they got a kid who was content to slack off and scribble absentmindedly on the backs of placemats. The ones at China Inn had the Chinese zodiac on them.
According to those placemats, I am a goat — creative, timid, reserved, "compatible with boars and rabbits, but never the ox." The description was actually quite apt. Carefree and contemplative, I was a dreamer, not a doer. I quit ballet after just one recital, which is a lot longer than my stint in gymnastics and violin lessons. In school, I did what I could to get by with no desire to be the best, much to my mother's frustration. And though I never outright disobeyed my mother, I often fought with her.
Through tears, I would protest: "Why do I have to learn Chinese and study so much? I'm an American. I live in the 'States, and here, people speak English, and they go out." She would remind me that like her, I had yellow skin and slanted eyes. Because of that, nothing would ever come easy for us. "We've got to work twice as hard to get ahead!"
To my mom, there was always something I could be working on, if not refining my Chinese then working on SAT practice questions to raise my score. Her idea of constant improvement terrified me, as I had grown content with being average. More than anything, being average was something I could claim as my own. It was my personal way of quietly countering against a mother who wanted so badly for her kid to be an obedient, refined, and high-achieving daughter.
It was also my way of standing out as the middle child. My brother, who is 8 years older, had already lived through those tumultuous years of fighting with my parents. I doubt he wanted to relive them through consoling me. Then there was my younger sister, who was something of a child prodigy in my parents' eyes, so it's not like I could turn to her for comfort. But even if I had someone to talk about this with, I'm not sure I would have had the words for it back then.
Rainbow sprinkles and hot pink chocolate galore!
Instagram user Katherine Sabbath posts some of the coolest baked good creations you'll ever see.
A Sydney native and a high school teacher, she spends her free time baking cakes and making a variety of flavored chocolates. Sabbath is completely untrained, which makes all her creations even more impressive.
via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..