Dhaka, June 23 (UNB) - The holiday season is here. Time for more outings, more playtime and precious moments with loved ones. Unfortunately, it can also be a period of mindless binging. It is advisable that you include something healthy in your diet. Something that is easy on the palate and could help us sail through the scorching summers, reports The Indian Express.
Here is one of the most loved summery mocktail from my workshop. I love picking up the most unused and the most boycotted ingredients of all times. This time I opted for beetroot. People either like it or dislike it. But despite its taste, the plethora of health benefits that this red beauty offers, makes it one of the coolest superfoods of today’s time.
Here’s a step-by-step guide of the Beetroot Float recipe.
8 medium beetroots, peeled and grated
Salt to taste
2 tsp – Sugar
2 cups – Yoghurt
3 tsp – Roasted cumin powder
Black salt to taste
Brown sugar to decorate
A piece of muslin cloth
Note: I used a wine glass for the mocktail.
Please note that the leftover grated beetroot can be an interesting ingredient for some spicy Beetroot Cutlets or Parathas.
Health benefits of beetroot:
It is often advised to consume beetroot in its raw form, which naturally retains all the essential nutrients. Beetroot is packed with Vitamins A, C, K, beta-carotene, polyphenols, antioxidants and folate, all of which helps to boost blood count and immunity. Consumption of beetroot helps lower blood pressure. Beetroot has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties that help flush out toxins from the body, which reflects as a healthy and glowing skin.
Columbia, Jun 23 (AP/UNB) — Twenty Democratic presidential candidates attending a Planned Parenthood forum on Saturday vowed to defend abortion rights under nearly any circumstance while largely ignoring nuances around the issue that have already roiled their party heading into the 2020 election.
The event sponsored by Planned Parenthood Action Fund — the group’s political arm — was the first of the election season centered on abortion. It came on the sidelines of the South Carolina Democratic Party’s state convention, a pivotal gathering of the party faithful in the South’s first primary state.
The candidates were united in decrying a series of tough, recent abortion restrictions approved by Republican-controlled legislatures around the country geared to ultimately provoke a Supreme Court case that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Those efforts have come alongside attempts to strip taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, which abortion rights advocates and some leading medical groups say would make it harder for low-income women to get access to basic health care, not only abortion.
“We’ve been on defense for 47 years and it’s not working,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Warren, who turned 70 on Saturday, said trying to restrict abortion usually boils down to sexism.
“You’re not going to lock women back in the kitchen. You’re not going to tell us what to do,” she declared, eliciting a standing ovation from hundreds in the crowd, many sporting pink Planned Parenthood T-shirts.
Most Democratic voters support abortion rights, though the issue doesn’t always energize the party’s base in South Carolina and other conservative states. Despite that, the Democrats vying for the chance to try and unseat President Donald Trump next year were unwavering in their support for the procedure and in their defense of Planned Parenthood — showing just how far the party has moved compared to presidential races in recent memory.
“If President Trump wants a war on America’s women, it’s a war he’s going to have and it’s a war he’s going to lose,” declared New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
California Sen. Kamala Harris promised to create a federal system of “preclearance” mandating that states passing major abortion restrictions be subject to federal review, similar to how states with histories of racial discrimination long had their electoral rules scrutinized under the Voting Rights Act.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said things have come a long way since even the 2016 Democratic primary, when activists had to fight to get moderators at general subject debates to ask about abortion and often faced responses like, “They’re all pro-choice so why should we would waste time talking to that?’”
Even as the party’s top candidates more openly embrace abortion rights, tensions around them have nonetheless already shaken up the 2020 Democratic field. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads in early polls, long supported the “Hyde Amendment,” a congressional ban on using taxpayer money to pay for most abortions. But Biden dramatically reversed himself earlier this month amid intense criticism from his fellow Democrats.
Pressed by forum moderators about that change of heart and his overall “mixed record” on abortion rights, Biden responded, “I’m not sure about the mixed record part.”
Later, a tearful audience member declared that the Hyde Amendment did disproportional damage to low-income women who rely on government funding for many health care services, including abortion.
Biden noted that he helped former President Barack Obama pass that administration’s signature health care law which expanded women’s health insurance coverage, including improved access to birth control. He also referred several times to written notes and seemed unnerved by the forum’s 15-minute per candidate limit, joking, “What, do I have 10 seconds left or something?”
The other candidates avoided mentioning Biden by name, and most didn’t reference his Hyde Amendment flip-flop. An exception was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who told the crowd, “Can we just be clear that, if you’re a Democrat you’re against the Hyde Amendment, period?”
The forum comes before the field gathers in Miami next week for the first Democratic presidential debates. Gillibrand suggested that the success of male candidates could keep female and minority White House hopefuls from subsequent debates since they’ve struggled to meet minimum, required thresholds in fundraising and polling support to secure invites.
“Pick your top five. Send them money. Make sure they make it to the debate stage,” Gillibrand said of female and minority candidates.
The forum drew some protesters who spent part of the morning outside it, waving black-and-white signs reading, “I am the Pro-life Generation” and “Defund Planned Parenthood.” South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick called the Democratic candidates “a group of radicals.”
“In what is many of these Democrats first visit to South Carolina, it’s amazing to see that their first stop is to go pay homage to the radical pro-abortion lobby at Planned Parenthood,” McKissick said in a statement.
Dhaka, June 22 (UNB) - Is your kitchen bin or recycling overflowing with plastic bags, containers and produce wrapping? Plastic has become so commonplace that it's easy to overlook how much of it you use and to forget that it doesn’t just disappear when it leaves your home, reports BBC.
More than 320 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally in 2015, over 40 per cent of which was single-use. Recycling helps to tackle the problem, but as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Anita Rani explain in BBC One's War on Plastic, the plastic you put in a recycling bin doesn't always get recycled.
How can you ditch plastic in favour of more sustainable kitchen habits? It could be simpler than you think.
Which bag is best?
Once upon a time, the average person in England got through 140 single-use plastic carrier bags a year. We have slashed this by a staggering 86 per cent, partly due to the plastic bag tax and a heightened awareness of the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment. But major retailers in England still sold 1.75 billion plastic bags between April 2017 and April 2018.
When it comes to choosing a bag, do you know your options?
It takes more than four times as much energy to produce a paper bag as it does a plastic bag. Paper also weighs more than plastic, making transport emissions higher.
The Environment Agency finds that paper bags need to be used at least three times to have lower global warming potential than standard plastic bags used only once. But paper bags do not tend to be reused. However, paper is recycled at a higher rate than plastic, so landfill is less of a problem.
By comparison, a bag for life, made of low-density polyethylene, needs to be used at least four times. While this seems doable, it still adds to plastic pollution if you throw it away. Cotton bags need to be used 131 times, but they last well and cut down on plastic pollution dramatically.
Whatever type of bags you use, the key to minimising environmental impact is to use them as often as possible until they break and then return them to a supermarket bag collection point, which many chains now provide. Lots of these 'bins' also accept plastic wrap from bread, cereal boxes, toilet roll, freezer bags, ring-joiners and lots of other single-use plastic items. Ask in store if you're not sure if your shop has one or what it accepts.
Is plastic ever better?
Some vegetables, such as cucumbers, bananas, peppers and potatoes, and meats such as beef, can last much longer when wrapped in plastic. This is due to the oxygen-free environment or micro-climate that can be created.
So which is worse for the environment – plastic or food waste? We enter the plastic paradox.
According to anti-waste charity WRAP, increasing the shelf life of produce by just one day would save UK shoppers up to £500 million per year by cutting back on their food waste.
One way to avoid the need for long-life fresh ingredients is to shop for them locally so that you can easily pop back when you want something. “Veg box deliveries and local markets or greengrocers are a way of ditching packaging while supporting local businesses”, says Emma Priestland, plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth.
Kathryn Kellogg, the founder of Going Zero Waste and author of '101 Ways to Go Zero Waste', recommends shopping for whole foods rather than processed. "Most of the processed foods we buy come in a lot of packaging and fruits and vegetables tend to come with less. Bring your own container to buy meat and cheese from the deli and butcher. If available, you can also grab staples like nuts, grains and legumes from bulk bins”.
Pasta, rice and dried beans and pulses are often sold wrapped in plastic and if they weren’t they could be spoiled by water damage or breakage, creating food waste. Check if there is a plastic-free shop offering refill schemes near to you, then take along reusable containers.
To keep food fresh without plastic at home, Kathryn suggests you store “kale, herbs and asparagus like bouquets in a glass jar half full of water. Submerge your carrots and celery completely in water and they'll stay crisp for weeks! Store greens wrapped in a towel in a mixing bowl with a lid on and they'll stay crunchy. Keep berries in a mason jar with a lid that prevents air or moisture from getting inside so they'll stay fresh all week.”
Many major UK supermarkets have pledged to reduce avoidable unrecyclable plastic packaging while slashing the amount of food waste produced. So in the future we could start seeing better alternatives and new solutions to plastic that increase shelf-life.
Utensils and storage
“When it comes to spoons, spatulas, cutlery and everything else you use to cook and eat, opt for wooden or metal utensils. But don’t go to your kitchen right now and chuck out all your plastic utensils. Keep on using the plastic items you already have, and then when they reach the end of their life, look at replacing them with plastic-free alternatives”, says plastics campaigner Emma Priestland.
If you're taking your own food to work, school or college, you're already on the right track. Purchasing lunches such as sandwiches, soups and meals-to-go from shops involves a lot of single-use plastic. Reusing a box, no matter what it's made from, is key. “A steel lunchbox is perfect for taking your food to work – it won’t be prone to cracks or discolouring in the same way as a plastic one”, says Emma.
For those who can afford them, beeswax wraps are an alternative to clingfilm – you can wipe them down and if the wax starts to come off or you accidentally melt it, you can recoat the wrap with wax yourself. However, the environmental impact of them at scale is not clear.
It's best to freeze leftovers in reusable boxes rather than freezer bags or cling film. But try not to forget it’s in the freezer and label everything clearly so you know what you're defrosting!
If you buy a lot of bottled fizzy water or drinks, consider investing in a water carbonator. It will allow you to carbonate tap water instantly and store it in a glass bottle, rather than buying single-use plastic bottles.
The key is to use all your belongings until they break. When you have to buy something new, weigh up the options and decide what works best for you and the planet. Kathryn Kellogg says “of course, we don't live in a perfect zero-waste and plastic-free world. We can only do the best we can.”
Canberra, June 22 (Xinhua/UNB) -- People with too much iron are more likely to contract diabetes and liver disease according to a joint study released on Friday.
While the medical issues associated with an iron deficiency have been well-documented, the study by researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Imperial College London revealed the implications of an iron surplus.
They found that people with high iron levels are protected against anaemia, a blood condition linked to iron deficiency, and are less likely to have high cholesterol but are also more likely to contract liver disease, diabetes and bacterial skin infections.
UniSA geneticist and co-author of the study Beben Benyamin said that the link between an iron surplus and a lower risk of high cholesterol was particularly important.
"We used a statistical method, called Mendelian randomization that employs genetic data to better estimate the causal effect of iron status on 900 diseases and conditions. Through this, we found a link between excess iron and a reduced risk of high cholesterol," he said in a media release.
"This could be significant given that raised cholesterol is a major factor in cardiovascular disease and stroke, causing around 2.6 million deaths each year according to the World Health Organization.
"In this study we have provided population-based evidence that iron is associated with certain diseases. The next step is to investigate whether direct manipulation of iron levels improve health outcomes through clinical trials."
Benyamin and co-author Dipender Gill from the Imperial College London also found that people with high iron levels are more likely to contract cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection that affects 21 million people in 2015 and kills 17,000.
Dhaka, June 22 (UNB) - Three compounds found in cocoa beans, particularly in the product’s shells, show promise for reducing the inflammation and insulin resistance that may result from obesity, according to a new study. The research comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where researchers investigated three specific phenolic compounds on mice. The compounds’ effects were described as ‘powerful’, reports SlashGear.
The study investigated three compounds called epicatechin, protocatechuic acid, and procyanidin B2. Though all three bioactive chemicals are found at high levels in cocoa bean shells, they’re also present in cocoa beans, green tea, and coffee.
As part of the study, researchers tested these compounds in a water-based extract on immune and white fat cells from mice; the team also investigated the effects of each chemical individually. In both instances, damaged mitochondria in the white fat cells was repaired, resulting in less fat accumulation.
As well, the researchers noted that inflammation was blocked in these white fat cells and insulin sensitivity was restored, something necessary to avoid the harmful effects of insulin resistance often seen in cases of obesity.
Effects on immune system
The compounds were also found to be effective against another harmful effect of obesity: excessive growth of immune cells called macrophages. This growth is triggered when fat cells accumulate too much fat, resulting in what the researchers describe as a ‘toxic cycle’ of interaction between the immune and fat cells. Resulting toxins can lead to chronic inflammation, compounding obesity’s harmful effects.
Chronic inflammation in obesity eventually results in insulin resistance, which can then snowball into type 2 diabetes. When the phenolic compounds were introduced into the mix, however, the white fat cells transformed into what is known as ‘beige’ fat, which burns fat more efficiently and contains more mitochondria. Insulin sensitivity was maintained and inflammation was controlled.
Using cocoa ‘waste’
The researchers note that cocoa bean shells, which contain high levels of these compounds, are considered a waste product with approximately 700,000 tons thrown away every year. Extracting these compounds may put those shells to good use while also potentially helping address the harmful effects obesity has on the body.