Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life

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Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life

Eating spicy food is associated with a reduced risk for death, an analysis of dietary data on more than 485,000 people found.

Study participants were enrolled between 2004 and 2008 in a large Chinese health study, and researchers followed them for an average of more than seven years, recording 20,224 deaths. The study is in BMJ.

After controlling for family medical history, age, education, diabetes, smoking and many other variables, the researchers found that compared with eating hot food, mainly chili peppers, less than once a week, having it once or twice a week resulted in a 10 percent reduced overall risk for death. Consuming spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14 percent.

Rates of ischemic heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancers were all lower in hot-food eaters. The authors drew no conclusions about cause and effect, but they noted that capsaicin, the main ingredient in chili peppers, had been found in other studies to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

“We need more evidence, especially from clinical trials,

The True Cost of American Food

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I am excited to announce that the Sustainable Food Trust will be hosting a major conference on food system externalities, between 14th-17th April in San Francisco.

Under the theme of The True Cost of American Food, this conference will explore the ways in which the economics of our present food systems are distorted in ways which result in dishonest food pricing, sending wrong signals to consumers and producers about the true cost of current intensive farming systems, and preventing the uptake of more sustainable alternatives.

Our aim is to bring together all those with an interest in unlocking this major barrier to food system change, in particular those in leadership positions. This is because we believe that these individuals collectively have the capacity to transform the future food systems landscape, firstly by recognizing the scale and extent of the hidden costs of food production, many of which we are already paying for without realizing, and then taking appropriate action.

Please read on to learn more about the conference and key themes and issues we will be exploring at the event.

If you are interested in attending or would like to

Eat the Week

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Rice and palm oil risk to mangroves

Research on mangrove deforestation is raising awareness of its devastating impact – and once, again, agriculture is at the heart of the problem. Mangroves are salt-tolerant coastal trees. They play a critical role in the ecosystems of coastal regions moderating the impact of the sea as it hits land and reducing erosion, acting as a significant sink for carbon and creating habitat for incredibly biodiverse ecosystems. However, in the last 40 years, vital mangrove forests have been disappearing, as aquaculture and more recently – as a new study points out – rice and palm oil production have taken over.

Conservation and restoration measures for mangroves are slowly taking shape, but the scale of the deforestation across south east Asia, is alarming. The problem illustrates one of the impacts of our endlessly increasing demand for palm oil. While the deforestation that results from the expansion of this market is finally being attended to in tropical forests on land, less attention has been paid to the deforestation of mangroves which is being driven by palm oil and rice production.

The rapaciousness of global palm oil consumption continues

The Different Styles of Catering

post2Are you planning on hiring a catering service and want to know how your meals will be served to your guests? This guide will help you make a more informed decision.

You’re hosting a party and you decided that you want to hire a caterer for the event.That’s great. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Aside from deciding on what kind of food you want to eat, there is also the question of how you want the meal to be served. Caterers offer a variety of ways to do this, including buffet, plated, family style and stations. Knowing the difference of each one can help you make a better decision. View the latest Catering menu prices.

Buffet

This type of meal set up allows guests to choose what they want to eat, and just how much they want to get. More often than not, food is set up on long tables and served in bulk. Food warmers or chaffing dishes are used to keep the food hot throughout the event.

Guests

Fast food restaurants move towards organic food as Americans become health-conscious

Many Americans are strolling around supermarkets, their carts filled with non-organic food galore. That same group likely considers fast food restaurants their second home, familiar with the menu’s latest triple-burger creations. However, these behaviors are becoming a thing of the past now that many people have started taking their health very seriously.

They’ve been learning a great deal about the insane amounts and types of body and brain-destroying chemicals they’ve been eating all along. One important influence has been Vani Hari, aka “The Food Babe,” who petitioned Subway to stop adding Azodicarbonamide — the same chemical that’s in yoga mats — to Subway’s breads. With health becoming a bigger concern than ever before, people are demanding options that include fresh, whole and organic foods.

Picking up on the increasing demands of health-conscious people are fast food restaurants, who are working to keep harmful chemicals and non-organic foods out of their establishments so that customers stay in them.

From frozen food to a drive-through serving organic french fries

For example, Amy’s Kitchen, a popular frozen food brand, has announced that by the end of June, it will open its first Amy’s Drive Thru restaurant. Their goal is to continue providing customers with tasty foods with

How Green is Your Kitchen?

Take steps — such as buying locally and buying in bulk — to make your food prep more ecological. Locate farmer’s markets near you, consider your cookware, and run your appliances more efficiently.

We’re all more concerned these days about doing our part to take better care of the earth. Some of the easiest and most effective changes you can make start at home. Think about what happens in your kitchen in terms of sustainability. You’re using energy and water all day and creating garbage every time you unwrap, use and dispose of items. Your kitchen probably generates a large portion of your house’s total waste. But this also means it might offer great potential for improvement and efficiency.

Let’s consider some easy things you can do now to step up the green quotient in your kitchen. Not only will you be helping the planet, you can keep closer tabs on your budget — and maybe even become a more creative cook.

Shopping smarter is your first step

There are advantages to shopping frequently. If you shop for fresh produce every few days, for example, there’s less chance of your fruits and vegetables becoming unusable before you get to them. On the other hand,

Keep kidneys healthy by drinking wine

(NaturalNews) After long getting bad press for its harmful effects, alcohol is now getting a second look. Recently, researchers have found that, in some cases, drinking alcohol can have real health benefits that are difficult to replicate in such a relaxing manner elsewhere. While health experts have, for years, been racking up evidence that alcohol is not good for the functioning of the kidneys, today they might have some good news for those people who like to have a glass of wine to relax in the evenings.

Alcohol and the kidneys

It has long been known by scientists that alcohol use can have a devastating effect on the kidneys. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol can increase blood pressure, raising it to high levels. High blood pressure has been deemed the second leading cause of kidney disease. Alcohol can also disrupt the effectiveness of medications that are designed to control high blood pressure, making it more likely that the kidneys will be damaged.

The proper balance of fluids within the kidneys can be disrupted, making the kidneys less able to filter bodily fluids. In addition, drinking alcohol tends to increase urination, which can lead to dehydration. This makes it more difficult for the

Drinking coffee can naturally cut melanoma risk by 20%

(NaturalNews) The leading cause of skin-cancer death in the United States, melanoma, may be prevented by engaging in a habit that’s familiar to millions of Americans. The act of drinking coffee might offer protection against the devastating illness, according to a study conducted by researchers from Yale University and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).(1,2)

To conduct the study, the experts reviewed data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which involved nearly 450,000 cancer-free patients. Over the course of more than 10 years, their food intake, which included coffee consumption, was reviewed. So too was their incidence of melanoma. Nearly 3,000 participants had developed melanoma during this time frame. However, it was discovered that, overall, those who drank more coffee daily were less likely to develop the condition during follow-up periods. A 20 percent lowered melanoma risk, for example, was linked to those who consumed four cups of coffee daily.(2)

Coffee has “bioactive compounds” that may reduce melanoma risk

Considering that America loves its coffee, this is good news. A great deal of people enjoy their cup of joe; more than half of Americans are said to enjoy an average of over three cups per day.(2)

However, this

Oil and gas industry pumping more toxic waste into drinking water aquifers

(NaturalNews) In November 2014, an investigation by NBC Bay Area made a shocking discovery when they learned that the oil and gas industry had been dumping, or pumping, billions of gallons of toxic wastewater into federally protected underground aquifers.

Until recently, little was known about the liquid mixture of chemicals that are used to crack geological formations in the ground, releasing profitable natural oil and gas. Today, we know that the injection mixture contains over 200 different chemicals, including diesel, biocides and benzene.

While previous reports alleged that groundwater contamination caused by fracking was a result of faulty equipment, NBC Bay Area‘s investigation unveils a deliberate act that is much more sinister.

When oil and gas companies frack, they inject massive amounts of water into the ground. Oftentimes, this leftover wastewater is re-injected back into the ground where the oil extraction first took place.

But other times, the wastewater is disposed of in nearby aquifers that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are “exempt,” meaning they’re not clean enough for humans to drink or use, according to Jason Marshall, Chief Deputy Director for California’s Department of Conservation.

Investigation identifies more than 500 fracking injection wells suspected of dumping toxic wastewater into “pristine” aquifers

NBC Bay

Drinking just one cup of coffee daily can slash liver cancer risk by 14%

(NaturalNews) Coffee, a sometimes controversial beverage which many of us start our day with, may not be as bad as some of us think.

While it is true that too much of this warming pick-me-up drink can disrupt sleep, raise heart rate and blood pressure, and mess up digestion, drinking just one cup of coffee a day may undo liver damage and reduce the risk of liver cancer by 14 percent, according to a new update published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).

The update is part of their ongoing Continuous Update Project to analyze global research on how diet, nutrition, physical activity and weight affect cancer risk and survival

Click here to read the report: WCRF.org.[PDF]

Their findings are based on the analysis of 34 scientific studies which include data from more than 8 million people, both men and women, with 24,500 actual cases of liver cancer.

Liver cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer and is more commonly found in men. It can go unnoticed for quite a while, and when symptoms emerge, it is often too late. In 2012, the disease caused around 745,000 deaths worldwide. WCRF notes that many of these could be prevented if people keep

The many health benefits of drinking lemon water

(NaturalNews) Lemons have always been cherished for their significant medicinal qualities. The ancient people of India, China and Mesopotamia regularly used lemons to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, while the ancient Egyptians took advantage of the fruit’s antiseptic qualities and embalmed their mummies in its juices. Later, in 15th century Europe, lemons were recognized as the perfect cure for scurvy.

Despite their healthfulness, however, most people today have no desire to eat whole lemons due to their extreme sourness. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to incorporate lemons into our diet without having to tolerate the entire fruit’s overbearing taste. One of the easiest and most popular ways to do this is to drink a glass of warm, purified water containing a few teaspoons of lemon juice, ideally first thing in the morning. As this article will show, the benefits of such a simple and inexpensive tonic will considerably exceed most people’s expectations.

Cleanses and detoxifies the system

Lemon water is packed with an antioxidant called d-Limonene, which is known to have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the body. For example, research published in the journal Alternative Medicine Review noted that d-Limonene could help “dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones” and, due to its

Much Food For Thought At Christopher’s Kitchen

“Chris has a magic way of making food taste amazing,” says wife Sue in a glowing tribute to the chef.

Judging from the enthusiastic response to Christopher’s Kitchen offering a private chef and cookery classes on the North Costa Blanca, Sue is not the only one who thinks so.

His cookery classes are quickly snapped up by food lovers who want to expand their culinary skills or to host a dinner party with the services of the private chef. His passion for the food together with the vibrant colours of the ingredients demanding attention and the aroma of herbs and spices wafting over the kitchen are certainly a recipe for success.

Chris has a long-standing love affair with food but it is only recently that he has been able to make it his profession. Both Chris and Sue enjoy learning about food and try to sign up for a cookery course or food trip when they are on holiday.

The couple have travelled extensively, which goes some way to explain their passion for so many different cuisines. Chris was born in the Cayman Islands – had a short spell in Jamaica – and ‘returned home’ with a shot of sunshine in his heart while

Saigon’s Special Drinks

Vietnam is for the most part a hot, humid and very tropical country. You’ll sweat a lot when you’re here and this is why it’s absolutely essential to keep your body hydrated. Water will do the trick just nicely,  it’s the most perfect drink for us and you’ll find it for sale almost everywhere beside a selection of Coke, Fanta and other familiar fizzy stuff.

Perhaps you’d fancy a fresh coconut instead? Or a glass of world famous ice tea or coffee? While these would also do the job, the point being is that thirst quenchers aren’t exactly hard to come by here. Firstly though, before you open that 7up, I’d love to introduce you to a few of the local and extra special brews, always cool and cheap: priced between 5 – 10,000VND a glass/bottle. (USD $0.20-$0.45)

“Nước mía”–

Found at the entry to every second alley, or so it seems, it’s the best all natural energy drink that you’ll find. Keep an eye out for the small alloy cart with a large, iconic and galleon-like wheel that hangs off the side. Once the wheel starts spinning, the attendant will carefully feed through the rollers, short lengths of cut and pre-peeled sugar

World’s Scariest Foods

Some say that a vacation isn’t complete without trying the local foods, and with culinary tourism stronger than ever, people are even more adventurous about braving unfamiliar dishes. But as much as you may love to try new delicacies, there are plenty of exotic specialties you may think twice about seeing on your plate. Work up an appetite (or not) — these scary foods are notorious for stinking, looking weird and even causing deat

1. Barbecued Bat (Indonesia)

Indonesia has some interesting dishes; the award for “most unusual” goes to the barbecued bat, served at local restaurants and street carts. Batman would be appalled, yet others find the dish quite delish. Cooks normally singe off the fur, then remove the wings and head. Depending on the size of the bat, the body is chopped up for stew or stir-fry (bones and all). Can’t take the gamey smell (or taste) of the cave-dwelling mammal? Ask for extra garlic, pepper and chili.

Try it at: Many street

6 strategies to integrate locally sourced food

According to the 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 54 percent of adults say they look for limited-service restaurants that serve locally sourced food, while 46 percent say an important factor is the availability of organic or environmentally friendly food. Start small when incorporating local or seasonal ingredients on menus. Here are six tips to help:

Go to farmers markets, recommends chef Zak Dolezal, owner of Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen, a 120-seat restaurant in Crystal Lake, Illinois. If the vendors don’t have the ingredients you want, they will tell you who does, he says.

That’s how Ryan Stone began adding local flavor. When he came from Vancouver, British Columbia to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, he began calling California companies that had supplied his restaurant in Canada.

Do your homework. Stone also read grocery store labels to find the names of local producers. Research what’s in season and when your growers expect to have certain items. “If Brussels sprouts come in, they are on the menu in eight different ways the next day,” says Greg Christian, CEO of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners. Learn what is coming up next and start planning ahead, he says.

Develop a sustainable food supply by working with growers associations and

Getting the most from your produce: Root-to-stalk cooking

Sliced-off carrot tops, torn-away fennel fronds and leftover Swiss chard stems may look like trash to some chefs, but to Chef Jonathan Luce they are culinary treasures that he highlights at Bellanico in Oakland, Calif. “The whole vegetable is fair game,” says Luce. “We use anything and everything.”

Luce embraces one of today’s hottest culinary trends, root-to-stalk cooking, in which chefs utilize most, if not all, of a plant in their dishes. In a National Restaurant Association survey, chefs identified root-to-stalk cooking — along with nose-to-tail cooking using the whole animal — as one of this year’s 25 top tableservice menu trends.

“It’s actually an old concept, though,” Luce says. “We’ve come full circle back to the days when nothing gets wasted.”

Waste not, want not
Customers love Bellanico’s malfatti, tender dumplings made from Swiss chard leaves, cooked with browned butter and sage. “We go through four to six cases of Swiss chard each week making malfatti,” says Luce. “That generates about 20 pounds of stems. We don’t want to throw all that away.” Instead, Luce grills the stems, featuring them as a side dish for pork chops.

At Chicago’s Publican, sous chef James Lyons transforms leftover carrot tops into a pesto and

Cooking up gluten-free cuisine

Given the amount of naturally gluten-free products — including vegetables, fruit, meat, legumes and nuts — chefs have numerous options when designing gluten-free dishes.

Although wheat, barley and rye are off the table, many grains are gluten-free, including rice, wild rice, corn, millet, sorghum and teff. Many “pseudo grains,” which aren’t biologically members of the same group as cereal grains, also are gluten-free, including amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa.

In addition, manufacturers have stepped up their efforts to develop gluten-free products from pancake mixes to pizza crusts. Flour alternatives abound, including rice flour, cornmeal, almond flour, potato starch and even a manufactured product that uses egg whites as a key ingredient.

Discover six restaurants committed to ensuring gluten-free diners have top-notch experiences at their operations:

O’Toole’s Restaurant Pub, Queensbury, N.Y. Creating a gluten-free menu at O’Toole’s took months of research, including countless calls to suppliers to identify suitable products. But it was worth every moment, says Bummer McIntosh, the restaurant’s food and beverage director. Aside from the satisfaction of knowing that the restaurant is serving the needs of those with gluten concerns, O’Toole’s has profited financially. “We’ve had thousands of dollars in increased sales,” says McIntosh.

Customer favorites include chicken tenders breaded in rice flour

How to reduce pathogen growth in marinades

Used to flavor foods, marinades can add dimension to restaurant recipes. They can also present food safety issues if food handlers do not follow protocol. Here, ServSafe offers insight regarding these topics:

Cross-contamination. Never reuse marinade that’s already been used once. For example, when a food handler removes raw chicken from marinade, he or she should not add more chicken to the leftover solution due to possible pathogen introduction. Wash, rinse and sanitize the container and utensils between each treatment.

Time and temperature controls. Most commercially prepared marinades do not require refrigeration prior to opening. Once the seal has been broken or a housemade batch has been prepared, care for it as you would a TCS food. If a restaurant intends to not refrigerate a marinade with a pH lower than 4.6, the operator must obtain a variance from the local health department and implement a HAACP plan.

When refrigerating raw proteins steeped in marinade, the container should remain covered and positioned below covered, ready-to-eat food.  Do not use copper containers, as acids in the marinade may extract the mineral, creating an environment conducive for chemical poisoning. When cooking the marinated protein, hit minimum internal temperatures and time requirements outlined by the Food

The Guilt of Simple Cooking (and How to Get Over It)

I got through the first couple days of my self-imposed cooking challenge without incident, but on the third day, there they were: my nagging cooking anxieties, making another appearance. The trigger was a pair of Instagram comments. On a photo of a soft-boiled egg: “This counts as cooking!?” On another photo of, uh, soft-boiled eggs (this time with crackers): “Aren’t crackers processed food? Not trying to be a jerk, just saying.”

Fair questions for somebody who’s announced to the world that he’s going to cook 90 meals in January (including recipes never tried before!) (and new cuisines!). But the questions that arose in me in reaction to those comments—Does the way I cook really count as cooking? What exactly consists of cooking, anyway?—precedes #cook90 by months.

They first made an appearance over the summer. I was at a beach house with friends, and it was my night to cook. I threw peppers, onions, eggplant, and some hot Italian sausages on the grill. I toasted some bread and spooned on tomatoes and garlic. And I made the world’s simplest kale salad, dressed with nothing more than olive oil, lemon juice, salt. I piled all this onto platters, and walked the platters to

Why Your Pantry Needs These Three Sugars

Demerara, muscovado, turbinado… No, these aren’t the names of hot new sports cars you’ve never heard of. They’re types of sugar you can find on most grocery store shelves these days.

Add coconut, date, maple, and palm sugar (not to mention all the alternative sweeteners out there) and it’s hard to know what to choose (and even harder to finish the box).

While these special types of sugar are great for their specific applications, there are only three sugars you really need:

Confectioner’s Sugar

Also known as powdered, 10X, or icing sugar, confectioner’s sugar is very finely ground granulated sugar with a powdery texture. Cornstarch is often added to prevent clumping. Confectioner’s sugar’s ability to dissolve can’t be beat, and that’s what makes it a pantry essential.

Mix it with water or milk to create a simple yet elegant glaze for doughnuts, Bundt cakes, or cinnamon rolls. Beat it with butter and milk for a fluffy frosting. Make silky sweetened whipped cream (without the grainy texture granulated sugar adds), or make all your baked goods prettier with a light sprinkling of this magic dust.

Light Brown Sugar

Looking for a sweetener with a little more flavor? That’s where brown sugar comes in. Granulated sugar with added

Fake blueberries abound in food products

Fake blueberries are usually plastic and can be found with other fake fruits in decorative arrangements or on bizarre hats.

Now, apparently, they can be found in food. A range of fake blueberries are in a number of retail food items that contain labels or photos suggesting real blueberries were used in the products, according to an investigation.

Sigh.

As if it’s not hard enough to include fruits in your diet. Now you have to watch for fraudulent food.

The nonprofit Consumer Wellness Center reported Thursday that its investigation found “blueberries” that were nothing more than a concoction of sugar, corn syrup, starch, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors and — of course — artificial food dye blue No. 2 and red No. 40. The offenders are well-known manufacturers such as Kellogg’s, Betty Crocker and General Mills, and the fakes were found in bagels, cereals, breads and muffins. Some products contain real blueberries mixed with fakes. For example, the blueberry bagels sold at Target contain some real berries but the “blueberry bits” listed in the ingredients aren’t real blueberries, according to Mike Adams, the author of the report.

Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin variety has

Unglazed Ceramics May Be Dangerous for Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern about some clay pottery items sold to tourists that may pose health hazards if used to hold food.

Colorful pots and pitchers bought abroad can make colorful decorative items, but be careful about also using such ceramics for food service and storage. “Some of these products contain high levels of lead and cadmium which can be leached when the item has been poorly glazed and the colors aren’t properly sealed,” says Marvin Blumberg, a consumer safety officer for the FDA. Lead and cadmium are toxic metals.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible for the consumer to know, simply by looking at a ceramic piece, whether it has lead in the glaze and whether this glaze was manufactured by acceptable standards for food uses.

Many ceramic ware products are coated with glazes that contain lead and cadmium. The glaze is a thin, glassy coating fused onto a shaped body of clay in a kiln. The lead produces the shiny look, with the cadmium enhancing the colors.

Foods Containing Acids

But if the process of turning out these ceramics is improperly done, problems can occur when these products are used to store

In Syria, U.N. agency distributes most food in government-held areas

CHICAGO — Wal-Mart Stores Inc unveiled a plan to promote healthier and more affordable foods at its stores, a move supported by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and one that could push food companies to overhaul some products.

The move comes as the world’s largest retailer tries to overcome political and union opposition to its expansion in urban areas like New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., by touting its ability to bring lower priced fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods to areas that lack traditional grocery chains.

Mrs. Obama joined Wal-Mart executives as they announced details of the plan in Washington on Thursday. She said she was “thrilled” about Wal-Mart’s new nutrition plan, adding: “I believe this charter is a huge victory for folks all across this country.”

Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s U.S. business, said in a statement on the company’s web site ahead of the event that no family “should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,

Mrs. Obama leads an administration initiative to combat child obesity. She has pushed food makers to quickly reformulate food to make it healthier.

Wal-Mart plans