Tuscan White Bean Stew

This delicious and easy recipe is also very cheap.  It serves 6.

A hearty, nutritious meal as temperatures drop!

For the croutons
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, quartered
• 1 slice whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

The stew
• 2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
• 6 cups water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
• 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

Recipe
To make the croutons, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor into the oil. Remove the garlic pieces and discard. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
In a soup pot over high heat, combine the white beans, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf. Place the cooked beans into a large bowl and save the cooking pot for later use.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans. Mash with a fork to form a paste. Stir the bean paste into the cooked beans.
Return the cooking pot to the stove top and add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and carrots and saute until the carrots are tender-crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, chopped rosemary, bean mixture and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stew is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the croutons. Garnish each bowl with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately.

Skipping breakfast does not cause overeating, new research reveals

Eating breakfast is supposed to lead to less calorie consumption during the day. But new research suggest that skipping breakfast may not cause us to overeat later.

Juggling the demands of modern life can leave little time for breakfast, despite it being hailed as the most important meal of the day. But contrary to previous research, a new study suggests that skipping breakfast may not necessarily cause us to eat more later on.

The study, which involved 40 teenage girls, found that participants consumed more than 350 fewer calories on days when they missed breakfast, compared with the days when they ate breakfast.

Lead study author Dr. Julia Zakrzewski-Fruer, of the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom, and colleagues say that their results challenge previous research suggesting that skipping breakfast may lead to overeating later in the day.

The researchers recently reported their findings in the British Journal of Nutrition.

For many, having breakfast is a major part of our daily routine. For others, those extra few minutes in bed are preferable to a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal. In fact, a 2015 survey found that only 47 percent of people in the United States eat breakfast every day.

But what effect does skipping breakfast have on our health? Previous research has linked breakfast omission to poorer heart health, while other studies have suggested that missing a morning meal may lead to overeating and increase a person’s risk of obesity.

For this latest study, Dr. Zakrzewski-Fruer and colleagues sought to find out more about the latter.

Fewer calories  eaten after skipping breakfast
The study included 40 girls aged 11–15 years. Each subject was required to participate in two 3-day breakfast conditions. In one condition, participants consumed a standard, low glycemic index (GI) breakfast, which contained 468 calories. In the other condition, participants did not eat breakfast.

Dr. Zakrzewski-Fruet and team say that the aim of their research was to “examine the effect of 3 consecutive days of breakfast consumption compared with breakfast omission on free-living energy intake and physical activity in adolescent girls.”

As part of the study, each participant was required to keep a food diary, and their physical activity levels were monitored with an accelerometer.

The researchers found that on days when participants missed breakfast, they consumed a total of 353 fewer calories than on days when they ate breakfast.

Breakfast consumption appeared to have no influence on physical activity levels, the team reports.

“There are many reports,” says study co-author Dr. Keith Tolfrey, of Loughborough University said that show missing breakfast is associated with obesity, which may have led to premature assumptions that breakfast can be used as an intervention for weight control.

He adds: “But we do not know why eating breakfast is associated with a lower likelihood of being overweight or obese, or whether eating breakfast can be used effectively as a weight control strategy.”

 

Onion juice may be helpful in hairloss

Hair loss is very common and may involve bald patches, complete baldness or gradual thinning. It can get worse as we age with changes in hormones.

Onion juice may be able to help because:

    • Onions contain certain minerals, which may be good for the hair
    • Anyone allergic to onions should not use onion juice on their hair
    • If the smell is too much to stand, adding a little lemon juice or rose water helps
    • Although a popular home remedy, more research is needed to conclude if onion juice works as a hair loss treatment

Hair loss causes

Hair loss and hair thinning is a common problem, and many seek natural treatments to encourage hair growth. Onion juice is one possible treatment.

The most common cause of hair thinning or loss is a hereditary condition called androgenetic alopecia. Others reasons hair loss can develop include certain medical conditions, as a side effect of some medications, and hormonal changes.

Regardless of the cause, many people want to do what they can to regrow their hair and prevent further loss, and there are some medications that can be used to treat hair loss. One home remedy many people may not have heard of is onion juice.

Does onion juice work for hair regrowth?

The use of onion juice for hair regrowth has not been extensively researched. But one small study recently published in the Journal of Dermatology indicated that applying onion juice to the scalp might help hair regrow in some people.

The study involved participants who had alopecia areata, which is a non-scarring, patchy form of hair loss. Researchers found that hair growth started after 2 weeks of using onion juice, which was applied to the scalp twice daily.

Almost 74 percent of participants had some hair regrowth after 4 weeks, and at 6 weeks about 87 percent experienced hair regrowth. Both males and females participated in the study and the hair regrowth was higher among males. Although the study did indicate positive results, it was small with only 38 participants.

How onion juice may help hair

Onions have many potential health benefits. Onion juice may help to encourage the growth of thick, healthy hair.Nutrients in the onion juice applied to the hair may nourish the hair follicles, which might increase volume, shine, and improve hair strength. The extra nutrition may also minimize breakages and thinning.As well as conditioning, using onion juice may also promote new hair growth in some people.

The reason onion juice may help improve the health of the hair may be due to the following:

  • Dietary sulphur

Sulphur is one of the most common minerals in the body. It is needed for adequate production of enzymes and proteins. Sulfur is also found in keratin, which is one of the components of hair.

The sulphur in onion juice may provide the hair with the nourishment it needs to grow. It may also increase the growing phase of the hair.

  • Anti-microbial properties

Onions have anti-bacterial properties, which may help fight scalp infections.In some cases, a scalp infection can contribute to hair loss. A healthy scalp is more likely to have strong hair follicles.

  • Antioxidants

Onions contain antioxidants, such as flavonoids. Antioxidants are believed to protect the body from free radicals.Free radicals are thought to contribute to the aging process. For example, free radicals may destroy the hair follicles and lead to thinning and loss of the hair. Cancelling out or decreasing free radicals may reduce damage to the hair follicles.

How to apply onion juice to the hair
For those who want to try using onion juice to improve hair health or promote regrowth, the process is simple.

To make onion juice, people should follow these steps:

  1. Peel about four onions and chop them into small pieces.
  2. Extract the juice out of the onion by either squeezing it or using a juicer.
  3. Another option is placing the onion pieces into a blender and blending into a paste.
  4. Place the paste in cheesecloth and squeeze all the juice out.
  5. Apply the juice to the scalp or the hair roots.
  6. A few drops of essential oil may also help decrease the potent odor of the juice. Peppermint, lavender, and rosemary essential oils can be good options to dilute the smell.

Currently, there are no commercial products, such as shampoos, that contain onion juice.

However, commercially prepared onion juice and onion liquid extract are available for those who do not want to make their own.

Are there any side effects?

Test the onion juice on a small patch of skin before applying it to the scalp, to ensure that an allergic reaction does not occur. Even though the onions are not being eaten, contact with the skin can cause symptoms in people who are allergic. Onion juice can also be irritating to the skin among people who are not allergic, causing redness and itching.To be sure that onion juice does not cause significant irritation, doing a patch test before applying the liquid to the whole scalp may be useful.

To do this, a person can apply a small amount of onion juice to the inner elbow or back of the ear and wait a few minutes. If irritation develops, it is best not to apply the juice to the scalp.

It is also important to avoid getting onion juice in the eyes. Onion juice that drips into the eyes can lead to burning and redness.

If onion juice does get into the eyes, it is important to rinse it away with cool water Although it is not a harmful side effect, onion juice can have a very strong smell.

The odour may dissuade some people from continuing with onion juice treatment, as it must be applied every day to have the best chance of being effective.

Verdict
Some people might have success using onion juice for hair regrowth or conditioning while others will not.

Also, the use of onion juice is not going to grow hair quickly. It takes a commitment to applying the onion juice twice daily over the course of several weeks to see if positive results can be achieved.

Studies are limited, so it is not clear that hair growth will continue or if the hair will return to its original state if the use of onion juice is stopped.

The bottom-line is that the use of onion juice, as a hair treatment, is probably not a miracle cure for hair loss. However, it does appear to be safe for most people if they are not allergic to onions.

Side effects also appear to be minimal. It is also fairly easy and not too costly to make an onion juice rinse for the hair.

Even if the use of onion juice does not produce a full head of hair, it probably will not damage existing hair.

So, for some people with hair loss, the use of onion juice may be a possible natural remedy that is worth a try.

Poor sense of smell may be predictor of Alzheimer’s and early death?

In a study that followed almost 3,000 older people with normal cognition, researchers found that a simple smell test was able to identify those at higher risk of dementia, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

They found that participants who could not identify at least 4 out of 5 odours in the simple smell test were twice as likely to have dementia 5 years later.
“These results show that the sense of smell is closely connected with brain function and health,” says Prof. Jayant Pinto, who is also an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

He explains that losing one’s sense of smell is a strong indicator of “significant damage,” and that this “simple smell test could provide a quick and inexpensive way to identify those who are already at high risk.”

Dementia is a collection of diseases
Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that erodes many aspects of cognitive function – for instance, it diminishes a person’s ability to remember, reason, solve problems, and hold a conversation.

As it progresses, dementia encroaches on daily life, eventually robbing people of their independence and personality.

Memory loss is not the only sign of dementia; many people can experience it without having dementia. Dementia is not a normal part of aging, although it is much more common in older people. To be diagnosed with dementia, a person must show impairment in two or more core mental functions, of which memory can be one.

Dementia is not one disease, but a collective term for several diseases that affect the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but other types include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal disorders. It is quite common for people to have more than one type.

The number of people worldwide with dementia is growing. Currently, around 47 million people are thought to be living with the disease. This number is likely to approach 75 million by 2030 and 132 million by 2050.

At present, there are no treatments that can cure dementia or alter its course, but there are some in clinical trials that might have an impact. In the meantime, much can be done to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, as well as the people who love them and care for them. In this respect, early diagnosis is essential.

Smell test
Humans sense smell through the olfactory nerve, which links the cells that detect odours in the nose directly to the olfactory bulb located at the base of the brain. This is the only cranial nerve exposed to the outside world, offering a potential route through which the central nervous system might be harmed by pollution, pathogens, and other hazards in the environment. The olfactory system has self-generating stem cells and the researchers suggest that perhaps loss of sense of smell is an early sign that the brain is losing its ability to self-repair. Loss of sense of smell is often an early indicator of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In the new study, a “nationally representative sample” of 2,906 men and women aged between 57 and 85 underwent home interviews and completed a simple smell test.

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For the “validated five-item test,” they had to identify five odors, one at a time, by sniffing a device similar to a felt-tip pen. Each time, they were given four choices, from which they had to pick out the correct one.

The five different odours were: peppermint, fish, orange, rose, and leather, with peppermint being the easiest, and leather the hardest, to identify.

The researchers found that the vast majority of participants were able to correctly identify at least 4 out of 5 odors. Of the rest, 7 percent identified 2 or 3 out of 5 smells, 2.2 percent identified just one, and 1 percent could not identify any of them.

‘Important early sign’ of dementia
After 5 years, the participants were interviewed again to find out if they had been diagnosed with dementia. A proxy stood in if the participant was too sick to be interviewed or had died during the follow-up.

The team analysed the results of the smell test against the follow-up information, adjusting them to rule out any effects from age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, other illnesses, and level of cognition at study baseline.

They found that the participants who had not been able to identify at least 4 out of the 5 odours at baseline were more than twice as likely to be among those who had developed dementia during the 5-year follow-up.
They also found that the lower the number of odors correctly detected at baseline, the higher the chances of dementia being diagnosed during the follow-up period.

On the findings, Prof. Pinto says, “We think a decline in the ability to smell, specifically, but also sensory function more broadly, may be an important early sign, marking people at greater risk for dementia.”

In a linked editorial, Dr. Stephen Thielke – from the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle – acknowledges that problems with sense of smell may be “easier to quantify across time than global cognition,” and that this could make it easier to assess early decline in the brain.

However, Dr. Thielke also notes that this does not mean that “smell testing would be a useful tool for predicting the onset of dementia.”

Prof. Pinto accepts this point, noting, “Our test simply marks someone for closer attention.” He and his colleagues say that more work is now needed to turn the test into one that can be used in clinical practice.
Nevertheless, he believes that the test could help to find patients who might be at higher risk for dementia, who can then be put forward for trials of treatments to prevent dementia in the early stages.
“Of all human senses, smell is the most undervalued and underappreciated – until it’s gone,” said Prof. Pinto

Natural solutions to control blood sugar

More than one third of people in the developed world have metabolic syndrome, an insulin-resistant state in which borderline high blood sugar and other metabolic abnormalities indicate an increased risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and other ageing diseases.

Sugar-lowering drugs are not usually prescribed by doctors until a person has diabetes, which means many people are in a dangerous pre-diabetic state without any prevention treatments.

Natural supplements have demonstrated that they are able to help reduce the risk by lowering blood sugar.

These include cinnamon, chromium, alma, shalajit and seaweed and should be used to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

New survey reveals the cost of looking good for women!

Women aged 50 plus spend an average of £1,783 a year on looking glamorous, a study has found.

The typical older woman annually splashes out £117 on make-up, £378 on clothes and a whopping £1,288 on nights out.

The study of 1,800 females aged 50-70 revealed, far from being over the hill, they are living life to the full – spending money on looking great and spending their free-time socialising with pals.

In a typical month they enjoy a minimum of three evenings out on the tiles – with cocktails and wine bars among the most popular activities.

Over the same period respondents fine dine twice, go on two clothes shopping sprees, catch-up with friends four times – and visit their local hair salon every other month.

While seven in ten women revealed they receive compliments about their appearance during nights out as a matter of course and a fifth are regularly approached by potential suitors.

Commissioned by Peter Hahn, specialists in fashion for the mature woman, the research also found a quarter consider themselves to be glamorous.

And over half say they have experienced a new lease of life since turning 50.

A spokeswoman for Peter Hahn said: “With this research we want to get some indication of what the typical woman in their 50s and older is like.

“Our research suggests many older women like to lead quite a classy and glamorous lifestyle – enjoying nice food, looking good and having a great time with their friends.

“They appear to have refined their tastes over the years and know what they like – and what they want out of life.”

Fifty-one per cent of women said it takes years of experience to truly master being glamorous – and 28 per cent think newer generations of females are less glam than they are.

However, many put this down to younger women not having had as much life experience as them – with one respondent admitting it takes time to feel comfortable as who you are.

While another said older females are less inclined to follow fads – and instead they take the best fashions from different eras in order refine their sense of glamour.

More than a third of respondents believe glamour can be found in a piece of exquisite designer clothing or a handbag.

And the average female over 50 owns two designer handbags and one pair of designer sunglasses – with a third owning up to three pairs of designer shoes.

Three quarters of respondents said they enjoy getting glammed up for special occasions – and nine in ten said it’s important they look their best where possible.

Fern plant contains anti-Alzheimers compounds

Medicinal plants have long been valued for their role in treating numerous diseases. Yet pinpointing the exact molecules from an array of compounds that comprise the majority of plant species has proved quite difficult. University of Toyama researchers in Japan have created a means of isolating and identifying the important active compounds within plant medicines. Their methodology has been published in Frontiers in Pharmacology. The project was spearheaded by University of Toyama associate professor of neuropharmacology Chihiro Tohda, Ph.D.

How they found the evidence
The research group used a new technique to identify numerous active compounds from a traditional plant medicine known as Drynaria rhizome. These compounds boost memory and decrease disease characteristics. Although the work was performed on a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease not humans.

Scientists usually screen plant medicines with lab experiments over and over to determine if specific compounds display an effect on cells raised in vitro. If a compound displays a positive effect in the cells or test tubes, it has the potential to be used in the form of a drug. Such compounds are subsequently tested in animals. Yet this is a painstaking process that does not take into account the alterations that occur when drugs enter the body. As an example, enzymes within the blood and liver metabolize drugs into several forms referred to as metabolites. Certain areas of the body like the brain aren’t easily accessible by most drugs. Only a handful of drugs or their metabolites can access such tissues. Dr. Tohda’s group developed more efficient methods to pinpoint authentic active plant compounds to take such factors into account.

The research team made use of mice with a genetic mutation that acted as an Alzheimer’s disease model. This mutation provided mice with characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease such as limited memory and an abundance of specific proteins within the brain like tau and amyloid proteins.
Findings
The research team determined Drynaria rhizome enhances memory function and facilitates AD pathologies in mice. Biochemical analysis allowed for the identification of bioeffective metabolites like glucuronides and naringenin that are transmitted to the brain. The research group combined immunoprecipitation-liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis with drug affinity responsive target stability to pinpoint the collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) protein as a naringenin target.

It was determined the plant extract decreased memory impairments as well as the level of tau and amyloid proteins within the brains of mice. The team studied the mouse brain tissues five hours following treatment with the extract. It was determined three plant compounds made it to the brain: two naringenin metabolites and naringenin.
When mice were treated with pure naringenin, it was found that the same boosts in memory deficits and decreased tau and amyloid proteins occurred. This is a sign that naringenin and its associated metabolites are the active compounds in the plant. The research team also found a protein referred to as CRMP2, that naringenin binds within neurons, spurs growth. This might be the mechanism through which naringenin improves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

A Look at the Future
The research group hopes its new technique will be used to identify additional treatments. They will apply the method to discover new drugs for an array of diseases ranging from depression to sarcopenia and even spinal cord injuries. In summary, the findings show that the biochemical analysis combined with pharmacological methods described above prove useful in the quest to identify new targets for Alzheimer’s disease intervention.

Win Epaderm dry skin cream in new handy size worth £6.99 – 10 prizes!

Swedish health care company Mölnlycke has launched a new 150g size Epaderm Cream in a handy-sized bottle with pump dispenser. Epaderm emollient is recommended by doctors for the treatment of a range of dry skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis.The new 150g bottle provides people living with dry skin a convenient ‘on-the-go’ sized bottle to ensure their skin receives the best possible care at all times, despite busy lifestyles.

Epaderm is a doctor-recommended skin hydrator for dry skin, eczema, psoriasis – suitable for all ages including babies – new 150g size costs £6.99 and is available at Boots & Superdrug

Barbara Page MBE, Dermatology Nurse Advisor and Chair of the Psychodermatology sub group of the British Dermatological Nursing Group (BDNG) said: “I am confident that this new size of Epaderm Cream will be a welcome addition for the many people throughout the UK who regularly use an emollient on a daily basis to manage their dry skin conditions and are looking for a convenient option to keep up their regime when they are out and about.”

Kieran Gormley, Epaderm Marketing Manager at Molnlycke added: “Epaderm Cream is clinically proven to significantly improve skin hydration and smoothness after just two weeks, outperforming other leading emollient creams. Epaderm Cream is free from fragrance, colouring and sodium lauryl sulfates (SLS), making it ideal for new-borns to those in their advancing years and people with living with dry and sensitive skin.

“We specifically developed the new ‘on-the-go’ 150g Epaderm Cream to be able to offer people living with dry skin conditions a convenient choice for their holiday suitcase and becomes the bottle they choose to throw into their handbags, gym bags or their festival backpacks.”

The new Epaderm Cream 150g is currently available in Boots and Superdrug stores with a recommended retail price of £6.99. Epaderm Cream 50g and 500g and Epaderm Ointment in 125g, 500g and 1kg sizes, are available on prescription and also in most pharmacies throughout the UK.

Read more about this helpful product here: : http://www.epaderm.com/

To win one of these very useful samples just answer the simple question below!

Please note that this competition closes on Sunday 4 June 2017 at midnight.  The 10 winners will be informed within 48 hours of the close. The Editor’s decision is final and no monetary equivalent is being offered.

Guinot Paris – luxury skincare sale – up to 65% off

Luxury skincare brand, Guinot is offering a rare chance to get our hands on their wonderful products with a discount of up to 65% on their products – the offer lasts until 7 May.  Click here to see what is on offer!

TIGI sale – up to 65% off anti-ageing hair products

Snap up these anti-ageing hair treatments – up to 65% off while products last.  Offer closes at midnight on 7 May.  Click here to see what’s on offer.

 

TIGI is a dedicated hair range including anti-ageing products that help make your hair glossy and healthy

Meat free dumplings to mark organic awards

Make this tasty meat free recipe below and vote for your favourite organic product!

This year you can get involved with organic too, the BOOMs Nation’s Favourite Award asks the people to find and vote for the most popular organic product. Nominations are open NOW until to Wednesday, May 31st – make sure you have your say here by voting – click on this link.

Ingredients

Soup:

3 tbsp organic olive oil
Sprig of thyme
Bay leaf
1 tbsp parsley stalks
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 small organic swede, peeled and diced
150g tinned plum tomatoes
1 tbsp good red wine vinegar
200g organic kale, stalks removed (reserved and chopped), leaves shredded
100g orzo Parsley and chervil, to garnish Grated lemon zest, to garnish Organic cheddar, to garnish Salt and pepper, to taste

Dumplings

Pinch of coriander seed
Pinch of rye seed
250g ricotta
10g grated parmesan
1 garlic clove, grated
100g pistachios, toasted and chopped
200g spinach
Zest of 1 organic unwaxed lemon
tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of chilli flakes
2 tbsp light organic spelt flour
Freshly grated nutmeg

Method

To make the soup:

Heat the olive oil over a medium to high heat. Add the thyme, bay leaf and parsley stalks and stir, cooking for a minute or two to infuse the oil, then add the diced veg and cook, stirring for 10–15 minutes, until softened and smelling good. Add the plum tomatoes and cook for a couple more minutes before adding a litre of water, vinegar and the kale stalks, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 10–15 minutes, allowing all the flavours to infuse. During this time, make the dumplings.

To make the dumplings:

Dry fry the spices in a frying pan until they start to crackle. Remove and grind in a pestle and mortar. Wash the spinach and then wilt in a nonstick frying pan over a medium heat. There should be enough residual water on the spinach to mean that you don’t need to add any oil or water. After a couple of minutes, once wilted, transfer the spinach to a sieve and leave over the sink to drain. Press down on the leaves with a wooden spoon to squeeze out any excess water. Once cooled and drained, chop finely. Place the ricotta in a bowl and add all of the other ingredients.

Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine and incorporate all the ingredients. Oil your hands lightly with olive oil and shape them into meatball sized balls.

Poach them in the minestrone. Alternatively you could bring a pan of water to the boil and cook them in the boiling water for 5 minutes, until they float – removing them with a slotted spoon.

 

Taking Music to the Mountains – Trentino’s unique music festival

Taking Music to the Mountains is a festival of 24 concerts in magnificent natural settings which takes place between July 7 – August 31, 2017.

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Each summer, the Sounds of the Dolomites music festival is held in the beautiful Trentino Dolomites, and features a musical programme that is both eclectic and wide-ranging. This year, the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker, singer-songwriter Jack Savoretti, and jazz legend Chick Corea are all on the menu.

Now in its 23rd edition, the Sounds of the Dolomites festival offers both musicians and audiences an intriguing proposition. How would their music sound if it were played outdoors, in one of the world’s most famous mountain landscapes?

Each summer, in July and August, they come to the Trentino Dolomites to find out: and discover a unique and unforgettable event.

Almost every concert begins with a walk
The key to the festival’s success is its willingness to seek out the most stunning venues. The concerts are not staged down in the valleys, with the cliffs and crags a distant backdrop: they’re up on the slopes – performed in lush Alpine meadows, or on the shores of remote mountain lakes. Usually, there’s a mountain refuge nearby, and a switchback road or cable car to take the sting out of the climb. But in most cases, audiences and musicians need to do a little walking to get there.

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It’s well worth the effort. Each setting has its own special qualities: but every one of them is magical. Up in the mountains, the music breathes like nowhere else – and begins an fascinating dialogue with its surroundings. Violins and cellos flicker in the breeze, and the silences are as meaningful as the songs. It’s no wonder, then, that the festival has become a widely-anticipated event amongst both musicians and music lovers – and is reviewed in both the Italian and international media.

From classical recitals to singer-songwriters
This year’s festival begins with a performance by the 12 Cellists of the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Rifugio Fuciade – a serene and lovely spot near the San Pellegrino pass. The ensemble was established in 1972 and over the years it’s played for the Emperor of Japan and the President of the United States. On July 7, it will perform works by Boris Blacher, Julius Klengel, Astor Piazzol and José Carlia, while the audience gazes across the trees and meadows towards the Pale di San Martino: one of the most dramatic of all the Dolomite massifs.

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It will be a fitting start to a mouthwatering programme, which mixes world music, jazz, and classical recitals with performances by singer-songwriters such as Jack Savoretti. Savoretti’s “Written in Scars” was a permanent fixture in the UK album charts in 2015, and he’ll be playing songs from his latest release, “Sleep No More” in Madonna di Campiglio on August 28. Meanwhile, on July 12 at the Villa Welsperg, you can see Jazz legend Chick Corea, who’ll be duetting with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck: an unlikely combination perhaps, but one which has already produced intriguing results, and received rave reviews.

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Another highlight comes courtesy of the Tunisian oud virtuoso, Anouar Brahem, who’ll be playing on August 2, in the dramatic setting of the Passo Sella. But for raw mountain atmosphere, it will be hard to beat the recital on July 26 by the Kelemen Quartet at Laghi di Bombasèl – a series of remote and magnificent mountain lakes, high above the town of Cavalese.

A festival within a festival
One striking feature of this year’s event is the “festival within a festival”, which runs from July 17-23 in the Brenta Dolomites. Here, you’ll be able to see a concert a day in spectacular locations around the resort town of Madonna di Campiglio.

They’ll be performed by one of the musical directors of the Sounds of the Dolomites, cellist Mario Brunello, with members of Kremerata Baltica orchestra – and the programme promises to be innovative in every way. From 18-20 July, for example, Brunello will be trekking through the mountains with fellow cellist Peteris Sokolovksis, stopping en route to perform music by Offenbach and Boccherini – as well as the “Lux Aeterna”, Kneifel’s mystical work, in which they’ll accompany their cellos with song.

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Bruno and his cello!

Throughout this event Brunello will be playing a prestigious 17th-century Maggini cello, made with wood from the forests just east of Paneveggio in Trentino. Here, the mountain valleys are home to Italian Red Spruces, which grow straight and slow in the chilly, sheltered microclimate. Their dense, consistent timber makes near-perfect soundboards for musical instruments – and Maggini wasn’t the only master craftsman to understand its properties. Stradivarius also used wood from these forests for his violins.

Nearly all the concerts are free
If you’d like to join Mario Brunello and Peteris Sokolovksis for their three-day trek through the Brenta Dolomites, the price is €360, which includes two nights accommodation in mountain refuges (limited spaces – bookings from 9 am on May 8 on +39 0465 447501). But otherwise, all the concerts in the Sounds of the Dolomites festival are free. New this year: with your Trentino Guest Card or if you have a local guest card, you can also join in one of the mountain guides leading walks to the venues for free.

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Most concerts begin at 1pm. However, on two mornings – July 15 and 23 – they begin with the sunrise, at 6am. Each has a back-up venue at lower altitude, in case of inclement weather.

The Festival will of course provide the perfect excuse for a longer holiday in the Dolomites, which were recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2009. The best places to stay will be in the towns and villages of the Val di Fassa and the Val di Fiemme, in San Martino di Castrozza, or – for Mario Brunello’s mini-festival of July 17-23 – Madonna di Campiglio. For details of accommodation, visit www.visittrentino.info/en/booking/all-accommodation.

For more information about the Sounds of the Dolomites, visit www.isuonidelledolomiti.it/EN/.

Apple cider vinegar – can it help with diabetes & how is it taken?

For many years, apple cider vinegar has been linked with an array of health benefits, according to an article in Medical News Today.

These have ranged from aiding weight loss to relieving cold symptoms. But does taking it help people with diabetes?

The majority of the health claims around apple cider vinegar have yet to be supported by clinical research. However, evidence has been emerging to suggest that apple cider vinegar may have certain benefits for the management of type 2 diabetes.
This article will discuss the research behind this claim and how apple cider vinegar should be taken, if at all.


What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar derives from cider or fresh apples and is produced after a slow process that breaks down sugars.
Vinegar can be made from nearly any carbohydrate. Apple cider vinegar is derived from cider or freshly pressed apple juice.

Like most vinegars, apple cider vinegar is produced after a slow process spanning several weeks or months in which sugars are broken down.

Mother of vinegar is a cobweb-like substance made from yeast and bacteria that builds up during this period. Mother of vinegar gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance and it is only present in unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It is thought to boost the vinegar’s nutritional value.

However, most vinegar is pasteurized. This heating process kills bacteria but prevents mother of vinegar from forming.

Apple cider vinegar and diabetes
In 1980, there were around 108 million people with diabetes worldwide. Its prevalence has increased greatly over the past few decades to an estimated 422 million. Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by an inability to manage blood sugar levels appropriately.

The hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels is called insulin. People with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce this hormone. People with type 2 diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin or respond appropriately to the hormone.

People can also develop a related condition known as prediabetes. This is where an individual may have blood sugar levels that are high, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Developing methods that help the body to regulate blood sugar levels efficiently is the most effective strategy in managing diabetes. Maintaining a healthful, balanced diet and regular exercise are crucial lifestyle factors that can help to achieve this.

Some evidence also suggests that consuming apple cider vinegar may be useful in helping people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.

One study demonstrated that apple cider vinegar reduced blood sugar levels and had a positive impact on cholesterol in rats with and without diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes
Studies suggest that a small amount of apple cider vinegar may help to reduce blood sugar levels after a spike following a meal high in carbohydrates.
In humans, researchers have looked at how consuming apple cider vinegar alongside a meal high in carbohydrates affected blood sugar levels in participants who had type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or neither condition.

Meals high in carbohydrates typically cause a spike in blood sugar levels immediately after eating. However, less than an ounce of apple cider vinegar significantly reduced blood sugar levels across all three groups following the meal, compared with the consumption of a placebo drink.

Another study in patients with type 2 diabetes compared apple cider vinegar with water. The authors found that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a cheese snack before bedtime was enough to significantly lower blood sugar levels the following morning.

This finding suggests that apple cider vinegar could also help to reduce fasting blood sugar levels. This refers to blood sugar levels after 8 hours without eating or drinking anything except water. Fasting blood sugar levels serve as a baseline measure of a person’s blood sugar levels.

It is thought that a component of apple cider vinegar called acetic acid may slow down the conversion of complex carbohydrates into sugar in the bloodstream.

This provides more time for sugar to be removed from the bloodstream, allowing the body to keep blood sugar levels constant and limit spikes. This is also a theory underlying the effects of several different diabetes drugs.

Type 1 diabetes
While consuming apple cider vinegar could help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, it could be harmful to those with type 1 diabetes.

The inadequate digestion of food is a common complication for people with diabetes. Called gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying, it means that food can remain in the stomach for an abnormally long period of time without being digested.

These delays in the digestive process make it harder for the body to consistently control blood sugar levels. A team of Swedish researchers found that apple cider vinegar increased the time in which food remains undigested in stomach of people with type 1 diabetes.

It is important to note that a majority of the studies within this area have been conducted using small sample sizes and findings have not always been consistent.

A large-scale, randomized control trial to find out how apple cider vinegar affects blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes has yet to be conducted.

Any impact that apple cider vinegar might have on the regulation of blood sugar levels is likely to be relatively small compared with maintaining a healthful, balanced diet and regular exercise.

Based on the available evidence, apple cider vinegar could help people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. More research is needed for large-scale recommendations. Its consumption in moderation has yet to be linked with any significant harms or side effects.

How is it consumed?
Apple cider vinegar may be consumed diluted in water or used in marinades and salad dressings.
People who wish to consume apple cider vinegar are best diluting 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water. It should be consumed before meals and there may be benefits associated with consuming it just before bedtime.

As with most vinegars, it is not recommended to consume undiluted apple cider vinegar. When drunk on its own, it can cause stomach irritation or damage to tooth enamel.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a versatile cooking ingredient. It is suitable for use in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and soups. It works well with many meats and fish.

People are most likely to see the distilled varieties of apple cider vinegar on sale, which has a clear, see-through appearance. However, it is better to search for the unfiltered, cloudier varieties as they contain mother of vinegar and are more nutritious.

Summary
People with type 2 diabetes may want to consider diluted apple vinegar cider given that it is safe to consume and may provide some benefit to blood sugar level control. However, the evidence behind its benefits is still lacking.

It is important for people to note that apple cider vinegar should not be considered a quick fix for diabetes. Eating a balanced diet low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and exercising regularly are the most effective methods of controlling diabetes.

Beetroot helps brain become more youthful, reveals new study

A new scientific study reveals that drinking beetroot juice prior to working out enables the aging brain to perform more efficiently and appear younger.

Previous studies have shown that beetroot juice increases blood flow to the skeletal muscles during exercise by 38%. Now, researchers at Wake Forest University have found that drinking beetroot juice ahead of a workout improves the brains of older adults. The beetroot juice supplement provides the brains of this demographic function with improved efficiency, mirroring the functionality of younger brains. Though it was known that exercise alone makes a positive impact on the brain, it comes as a bit of a surprise that beetroot juice supplements also bolster mental processing power. The results of the study were recently made available to the public in peer-reviewed Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

About the Study

The brief training study keyed in on hypertensive older individuals. The effort was led by W. Jack Rejeski, the Director of the Behavioral Medicine Laboratory in the Department of Health & Exercise Science. The study’s lead author was Meredith Petrie, one of Rejeski’s former undergraduate students. The study served as the first test to gauge the combined impact of exercise and beetroot juice supplements on the brain’s functional networks in the motor cortex along with the secondary connections between the insula and cortex that ameliorate mobility.

The study analysed 26 men and women over the age of 55. These individuals performed no exercise, were saddled by high blood pressure and received no more than two medications to treat the malady. Half the study participants were provided with Beet-It Sport Shot with 560 mg of nitrate, a beetroot juice supplement, three times per week for six weeks. They consumed the supplement an hour before embarking on a 50-minute walking session on a treadmill. The other half received a placebo Beet-It with minimal nitrate.

A Word on Beets

Beets are loaded with dietary nitrate. This nitrate is converted to nitrite and subsequently converted to nitric oxide after consumption. Nitric oxide stimulates blood flow through the body. Several studies have shown nitric oxide boosts exercise performance in individuals across numerous age groups. It is revered as a powerful molecule that travels to portions of the body that are hypoxic or in need of oxygen.

The brain is one of the primary suppliers of oxygen to the body. As one exercises, the brain’s somatomotor cortex sorts cues stemming from the body. Exercise serves to strengthen the somatomotor cortex. The combination of beetroot juice and exercise provides an abundance of oxygen to the brain, creating a fantastic environment for boosting the strength of the somatomotor cortex.

The Findings

Post-exercise analysis makes it clear that the group that consumed beetroot juice enjoyed heightened levels of nitrate and nitrite compared to those who consumed the placebo before exercising. It is important to note that participants in both groups had nearly the same levels of nitrate and nitrite in their blood before consuming the beetroot juice and placebo. Though additional studies must be performed, the study’s findings suggest that the foods and drinks consumed during the aging process make a monumental impact on the maintenance of the brain’s health and functionality.

Healthy ageing campaigner Charles Eugster dies at the age of 97

So sad to hear the news this week of the passing of Charles Eugster – not far short of 100 years.

Dr Charles Eugster, the best-selling author and record-breaking athlete, has died in London at the age of 97.  His publicist confirmed he passed away Wednesday evening from complications following heart failure.

Born in 1919, he died the current World Masters World Record Holder at M95+ 200m indoor and 400m outdoors.  During the past decades, he also broke many records in World Masters rowing, and held numerous World Strenflex titles.  He was in high demand around the world as an expert on aging and as an inspirational speaker, sharing his insights and understanding of the benefits of an active old age, as well as making a huge number of media appearances. His first book, Age is Just a Number, was published earlier this year, which he promoted with the catch phrase: “you are never too old to try something new”.

His son, Andre, spoke briefly to say “We fully supported Dad in his endeavours and aside from our personal loss it is so sad that he passed away at the height of his success.  He wanted to inspire the world.”

David Tarsh, of Tarsh Consulting who represented Charles, added, “We, along with everyone who knew Charles, are incredibly sad to lose such a truly inspirational figure.  He has shown, by remarkable example, how fantastic life can be in older old-age.  It has been a privilege to work with and learn from Charles”.

There was nothing genetically special about Charles.  His understanding of the ageing process, and the lifestyle he adopted to ensure his ongoing physical and mental well-being, is something everyone can aspire to.  He passionately believed that continuing physical and mental activity into the later years of life provides incalculable benefits to individuals and to society as a whole.

Charles never sought physical immortality but he wanted to “change the world” to make advanced old age a different experience… one that could be exciting, useful and fulfilling.  At this, he led by example and magnificently over-achieved until the very end of his remarkable life.  His legacy, however, will live on having inspired thousands around the world.

Charles was an amazing man with the energy and enthusiasm for healthy ageing that belied his years. I remember him fondly and it was a privilege to have met him. You can read the interview here.

 

 

Win tickets to Ayurveda for Everyone – learn the secrets of well-being & longevity

London’s first health fair dedicated to the ancient Indian principles of Ayurveda – Ayurveda For Everyone – is taking place next weekend of Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 April, 2017.Elixir has four pairs of tickets to give away – 2 for the event and another 2 for the evening concert on Saturday 1 April.

Bringing together world experts and leading producers of Ayurvedic therapies and preparations, Ayurveda For Everyone will highlight how diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and meditation, can promote good health and longevity.

Bhuddha

The first 2 pairs of tickets for this event will be given away for the Ayurveda for Everyone Health Fair, where world-renowned health experts and scholars will speak about Ayurveda and how it can benefit you in your daily life. Some of the topics include weight management, anti-ageing, overcoming joint and back pain, and keeping your heart healthy. Enter to win and you will have a chance to learn the simple health secrets from the experts.

Our second giveaway will be for another two pairs of tickets to the Gandharva Veda Concert, where the traditional music and songs of India will be performed by talented and accomplished musicians. The concert will be held Saturday 1 April at 8pm. The music will uplift your spirits, and is key to the full Ayurveda treatment. See the full line-up of musicians here, and enter today for chance to win tickets to the experience you’ll never forget.

The Ayurveda For Everyone Health Fair takes place at the Novotel London West, 1 Shortlands, Hammersmith International Centre, London W6 8DR from 1 to 2 April 2017. The Event will offer displays, product samples and treatment demonstrations from leading suppliers of Ayurvedic preparations and therapies alongside exclusive talks from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Tickets are available to purchase for pre-register – click here to find out more and start from £25.00 to attend one full day at the Health Fair and all 7 lectures or £40.00 to attend both days and all 14 lectures. Tickets are £30.00 and £45.00 on the door respectively.

All you have to do to win a pair of tickets is to answer the simple question below. This competition closes on Thursday 30 March 2017 at midnight. Please note that the Editor’s decision is final and no cash equivalent is offered. The winner will be notified by email at the end of the competition. Winners will be able to pick their tickets up the Box Office. Good luck!

All you have to do is a simple question below:

Chemist Direct – up to 50% off across the range

Chemist Direct sale

Up to 50% off – bargains across the range – click on the link to find savings

 

 

http://tidd.ly/bb450551

New! Win Chloé’s signature scent worth £70

Chloé’s signature scent truly embodies the creative, confident individuality of the Chloé woman: a fresh, feminine fragrance with an innate sense of chic.

Chloe Eau de Parfum

The perfume is created with a mix of natural and couture ingredients. The bottle is made with genuine silver plating and graced with a finishing touch, a hand tied ribbon. This unique example of craftsmanship and sublime rose scent perfectly capture the house of Chloe spirit, effortless chic and femininity.

If you don’t fancy waiting there are currently lots of discount perfume offers online – like me you be wondering why you ever bought perfume in a store – here at. Chemist Direct Current offers include Christian Dior, Burberry, Vera Wang, Cacherel and many more. Similarly at Fragrance Direct

All you have to do to win our Chloe perfume is answer the simple question below. This competition closes on Sunday 2nd April 2017 at midnight. Please note that the Editor’s decision is final and no cash equivalent is offered. The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours of the end of the competition. Good luck!

Sun & fun in Marbella & Malaga – bargain breaks

Run to stay young

Active older people should keep on running, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder and Humboldt State University.

It revealed that seniors who run several times a week expend about the same amount of energy walking as a typical 20-year-old.

olderrunners
And even older people who walk for exercise rather than jog expend about the same amount of energy walking as older, sedentary adults, and expend up to 22 percent more energy walking than the 20-something crowd.

The study, led by Humboldt State Professor Justus Ortega
“The bottom line is that running keeps you younger, at least in terms of energy efficiency,” said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Rodger Kram of the Department of Integrative Physiology, a co-author of the new study.

The study involved 30 healthy older volunteer adults (15 males and 15 females) with an average age of 69 who either regularly ran or walked for exercise. The volunteers all had been either walking or running at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes per workout for at least six months. Boulder was an ideal place for the study, said Kram, in part because it has been an international running mecca since the 1970s and there are a relatively large number of senior runners.
“What we found is that older adults who regularly participate in highly aerobic activities – running in particular – have a lower metabolic cost of walking than older, sedentary adults and also lower than seniors who regularly walk for exercise,” said Ortega, who earned his doctorate at CU-Boulder.

“It’s been known for a long time that as people age their maximum aerobic capacity, or ‘horsepower,’ declines, and that is true for runners as well,” said Ortega. “What’s new here is we found that old runners maintain their fuel economy.”
All study participants underwent preliminary health screenings at the CU-Boulder Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC), which is funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health.

The test subjects walked on a force-measuring treadmill at three speeds in Kram’s Locomotion Laboratory at CU-Boulder: 1.6 mph, 2.8 mph, and 3.9 mph. The researchers measured each participant’s oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production during the testing sessions. For the new study, the team also used data gathered as part of Ortega’s dissertation on the energy expended by younger and older sedentary adults during similar walking treadmill tests for comparison.
Other co-authors of the new study are CU-Boulder graduate student Owen Beck, Jaclyn Roby, now a student in the Physical Therapy Program at CU’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, and former Humboldt State undergraduate Aria Turney.
“It was surprising to find that older adults who regularly run for exercise are better walkers than older adults who regularly walk for exercise,” said Beck. “The take-home message of the study is that consistently running for exercise seems to slow down the aging process and allows older individuals to move more easily, improving their independence and quality of life,” he said.

“Walking for exercise has many positive health effects, like fending off heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and depression – it’s just that walking efficiency does not seem to be one of them,” said Kram. “Because we found no external biomechanical differences between the older walkers and runners, we suspect the higher efficiency of senior runners is coming from their muscle cells.”

Specifically, Kram believes that mitochondria—small bodies found inside individual cells known as the cell “powerhouses”—are involved. Mitochondria generate chemical energy known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that powers our muscle fibers to help us move about, lift objects, and, in this case, run. People who work out regularly generally have more mitochondria in their cells, providing more energy to power larger muscles.
Kram said further research is needed to determine the role mitochondria play in the energy efficiency exhibited by running seniors.

Vitamin D deficiency link to chronic headache?

Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of chronic headache, such as migraine, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

The recent Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, analysed the serum vitamin D levels and occurrence of headache in approximately 2,600 men aged between 42 and 60 years in 1984-1989. In 68% of these men, the serum vitamin D level was below 50 nmol/l, which is generally considered the threshold for vitamin D deficiency. Chronic headache occurring at least on a weekly basis was reported by 250 men, and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others.

When the study population was divided into four groups based on their serum vitamin D levels, the group with the lowest levels had over a twofold risk of chronic headache in comparison to the group with the highest levels. Chronic headache was also more frequently reported by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September. Thanks to UVB radiation from the sun, the average serum vitamin D levels are higher during the summer months.

Despite being an essential vitamin with multiple benefits including anti-inflammatory properties, survey results have shown that 79% of UK adults don’t take a vitamin D supplement despite 1 in 5 being deficient.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q-10 is great for supporting brain health. Found in fatty foods like fish, beef, chicken and nuts.

ordinary-mixed-nuts

Omega 3s

Omega 3s are powerful anti-inflammatories and they are important for controlling inflammation anywhere in the body.”

These healthy oils can decrease the duration and severity of migraines as they act as an effective anti-inflammatory, which can help to reduce blood vessel inflammation within the brain.

Magnesium

As well as Vitamin D, many migraine sufferers are also prone to have a deficiency in magnesium. Known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’, an increased magnesium intake can reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines up to 41%![1]

“Many of us live hectic, stressful lives and are more exposed to environmental and food toxins, which can make us more prone to a magnesium deficiency. To make sure you’re getting your daily dose I would recommend taking Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium Capsules (£11.75, www.naturesplus.co.uk), which are easily absorbed and delivered to the tissues,” explains Cassandra.

Water

Always ensure you have plenty of water during the day

Tuscan White Bean Stew – the perfect cool weather warmer

A traditional Tuscan soup that is low in fat and calories and a perfect cool weather warmer

Serves 6

tuscan-white-bean-stew
Ingredients
For the croutons
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, quartered
• 1 slice whole-grain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the stew
• 2 cups dried cannellini or other white beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
• 6 cups water
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
• 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6 sprigs
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

Directions
To make the croutons, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the garlic flavor into the oil. Remove the garlic pieces and discard. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a soup pot over high heat, combine the white beans, water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 75 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf. Place the cooked beans into a large bowl and save the cooking pot for later use.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of the cooked beans. Mash with a fork to form a paste. Stir the bean paste into the cooked beans.
Return the cooking pot to the stove top and add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and carrots and saute until the carrots are tender-crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, chopped rosemary, bean mixture and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the stew is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle the stew into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the croutons. Garnish each bowl with a rosemary sprig and serve immediately.

Low cost amino acid that protects the brain from ageing

New discoveries are highlighting the roles that a low-cost amino acid,  taurine, plays in helping to preserve the human mind. The importance of maintaining critical concentrations of taurine, as we age is being recognised by specialists in cognitive medicine. In particular how it protects against environmental pollution. 1,2
Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in our bodies. It plays special roles in the brain, where it meets many of the criteria for being a neurotransmitter (a molecule that transmits signals between brain cells).3,4Its role in normal brain development is already established.5-7

It is thought that taurine:
•Protects brain cells against environmental toxins including lead and organic pesticides8
•Prevents dysfunction of mitochondria within brain cells, thereby sustaining energy levels9,10
•Protects brain cells against excitotoxicity, the chemically stressful effects of overstimulated brain cells9
•Enhances the inhibitory systems driven by the “relaxing” neurotransmitter GABA, which directly opposes excitotoxic effects11
•Cooperates with other neurotransmitters to promote induction of long-term potentiation, which is the neurological process by which memories are formed and retained during learning2,12
•Reduces brain inflammatory processes that are active in production of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases13
•Stimulates proliferation and new neuron formation to sustain learning and memory14-16
•Protects brain cells against destruction following a stroke17,18
•Attenuates damage caused by beta amyloid protein, a major contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease10,19

Protects the adult brain as well as the developing brain by slowing down ageing and also again environmental toxins,  increasingly recognised as factors in adult neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.20-23

Taurine protects against environmental poisons

A recent study showed that rats exposed to either a dangerous pesticide called CPF, lead acetate, or both toxins, showed biochemical damage leading to visible degeneration of brain tissue. When the animals were cotreated with taurine, those changes were prevented.8

These findings may have increased urgency as Americans discover just how our public infrastructure has failed to protect us against lead and other toxins in our water supplies.24

Taurine’s multiple mechanisms of action fight brain aging in other important ways, particularly by protecting the brain against internal age-accelerating forces.

For decades, scientists believed that adult brain cells could not reproduce, nor could new brain cells be generated afresh. Studies with taurine are turning that dogma on its head.

New brain cell growth was demonstrated in an exciting study released in 2015. Swiss scientists discovered that feeding middle-aged mice taurine could trigger rapid growth in populations of stem cells in the brain and greatly promote their subsequent differentiation into functioning adult brain cells.25 This effect had previously been shown in studies of cultured adult-mouse brain stem cells.14 And another 2015 study demonstrated that human-brain stem cells in culture underwent the same type of proliferation and specialization demonstrated in the animal studies.16

Together, these studies mean that humans are likely to be able to stimulate new brain cell development, and foster rapid synaptic connections between them with taurine.

Neurodegenerative diseases rob aging adults of memory, function, and dignity. Taurine has significant favorable impact on the malformed and toxic proteins that accumulate in the aging brain, leading to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Taurine can prevent damage wrought on brain cells by the malformed Alzheimer’s-related protein called beta amyloid.10 That mechanism may have been at work in a recent mouse model study of Alzheimer’s, in which six weeks of taurine added to drinking water rescued mice from developing cognitive deficits. In this study taurine supplementation restored cognitive function to that of age-matched normal mice.19

Elevated blood glucose and insulin resistance severely damage the brain. Some researchers now refer to Alzheimer’s as “type III diabetes.”26 In 2015, a study showed that taurine supplementation in mice could increase brain insulin receptors, an effect that might prove to be protective against the disease.27

Ischemic strokes are the result of an abrupt reduction in blood flow to specific brain regions. Strokes not only cause immediate symptoms, but also contribute to accelerated brain aging over the longer term.28,29 Once again, a role for taurine supplementation is evident.

Taurine appears to protect brain cells from the oxidative stress induced during a stroke, and to slow subsequent brain cell death.9,18 Chronic cellular destruction contributes to neurological problems in stroke survivors, so preventing it is an important approach to mitigating stroke damage. A mouse study has shown that adding taurine to another emerging stroke drug improved performance on neurological tests, while the drug alone was ineffective.18
Brains age for many reasons. Chronic toxin exposures, elevated blood sugar, accumulations of abnormal proteins and circulatory disruptions are known to accelerate brain aging.

Taurine is proving to have significant brain age-decelerating effects. Most recently, it has been shown to be protective against toxic exposures including lead and pesticides. It also inhibits beta amyloid formation associated with Alzheimer’s and helps regulate the brain’s control of glucose. Taurine also shows evidence of protection against the cognitive deficits induced by stroke.

It has also been reported that this amino acid has helped grow new brain cells.

References

  1. Menzie J, Pan C, Prentice H, et al. Taurine and central nervous system disorders. Amino Acids. 2014;46(1):31-46.
  2. Suarez LM, Munoz MD, Martin Del Rio R, et al. Taurine content in different brain structures during ageing: effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity. Amino Acids. 2016;48(5):1199-208.
  3. Ripps H, Shen W. Review: taurine: a “very essential” amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2673-86.
  4. Iio W, Matsukawa N, Tsukahara T, et al. The effects of oral taurine administration on behavior and hippocampal signal transduction in rats. Amino Acids. 2012;43(5):2037-46.
  5. Shivaraj MC, Marcy G, Low G, et al. Taurine induces proliferation of neural stem cells and synapse development in the developing mouse brain. PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42935.
  6. Liu J, Liu Y, Wang XF, et al. Antenatal taurine supplementation improves cerebral neurogenesis in fetal rats with intrauterine growth restriction through the PKA-CREB signal pathway. Nutr Neurosci. 2013;16(6):282-7.
  7. Li F, Teng HY, Liu J, et al. Antenatal taurine supplementation increases taurine content in intrauterine growth restricted fetal rat brain tissue. Metab Brain Dis. 2014;29(3):867-71.
  8. Akande MG, Aliu YO, Ambali SF, et al. Taurine mitigates cognitive impairment induced by chronic co-exposure of male Wistar rats to chlorpyrifos and lead acetate. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014;37(1):315-25.
  9. Kumari N, Prentice H, Wu JY. Taurine and its neuroprotective role. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;775:19-27.
  10. Sun Q, Hu H, Wang W, et al. Taurine attenuates amyloid beta 1-42-induced mitochondrial dysfunction by activating of SIRT1 in SK-N-SH cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014;447(3):485-9.
  11. El Idrissi A, Shen CH, L’Amoreaux W J. Neuroprotective role of taurine during aging. Amino Acids. 2013;45(4):735-50.
  12. Suarez LM, Bustamante J, Orensanz LM, et al. Cooperation of taurine uptake and dopamine D1 receptor activation facilitates the induction of protein synthesis-dependent late LTP. Neuropharmacology. 2014;79:101-11.
  13. Ward RJ, Dexter DT, Crichton RR. Ageing, neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2015;7:189-204.
  14. Hernandez-Benitez R, Ramos-Mandujano G, Pasantes-Morales H. Taurine stimulates proliferation and promotes neurogenesis of mouse adult cultured neural stem/progenitor cells. Stem Cell Res. 2012;9(1):24-34.
  15. Hernandez-Benitez R, Vangipuram SD, Ramos-Mandujano G, et al. Taurine enhances the growth of neural precursors derived from fetal human brain and promotes neuronal specification. Dev Neurosci. 2013;35(1):40-9.
  16. Pasantes-Morales H, Ramos-Mandujano G, Hernandez-Benitez R. Taurine enhances proliferation and promotes neuronal specification of murine and human neural stem/progenitor cells. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;803:457-72.
  17. Chen PC, Pan C, Gharibani PM, et al. Taurine exerts robust protection against hypoxia and oxygen/glucose deprivation in human neuroblastoma cell culture. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013;775:167-75.
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Win 1 of 10 pairs of tickets to the AFE Arts Antiques Fair London

AFE London Art Antiques Interiors Fair is set to take place for the first time next month at the ExCeL London. Running from Friday 13th until Sunday 15th January, the Fair will play host to a fantastic line up of 120 dealers and celebrity speakers all ready to give the seasoned shopper, first time buyer and aspiring collector advice on what to buy for their homes.

The exciting new Fair will become the first major event in the art and antiques calendar of 2017 and will offer a huge range of choice within the art, antiques and interiors market. With prices ranging from £20 to £20,000, it offers a range of choices to suit all tastes and budgets.
efa

Find out more about the AFE (Art For Everyone) website.

We have 10 pairs of tickets – each pair worth £24 (tickets will cost £15 at the door on the day of the event.  To win a ticket all you have to do is answer a simple question below and give us your details so that we can let you know if you win. Please note that no cash equivalent is offered and the Editor’s decision is final Winners will be informed within 24 hours of the close of the competition – at midnight on 7 January 2017.