What are the benefits of s plant-centred diet?

The results of a study published in August in the Journal of the American Heart Association states that eating nutritious, plant-based foods is beneficial to the heart at any age. The study showed that those who ate more healthy plant foods had fewer heart attacks and were also less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.

Observational study

For this study, the researchers looked at long-term consumption of plant-based foods and the impact of switching to a plant-centred diet in young adulthood. The researchers examined diet and prevalence of heart disease among those enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.

The participants numbering close to 5,000, belonged to the 18-30 age group at the time of enrolment in 1985-86 and were free of cardiovascular diseases at that time. Between 1987 and 2016, these adults took eight follow-up exams that included lab tests, physical measurements, lifestyle assessments, and medical histories.

Unbiased data

As the results of these tests were not revealed to the participants and they weren't instructed to eat in any particular way either, the researchers had unbiased data that reflected habitual long-term diets. The food groups were classified into beneficial foods (including fruits and vegetables), adverse foods (think junk foods and soft drinks) and neutral foods (refined grains, lean meats).

After considering several factors such as age, sex educational background, and calorie consumption, it was found that people who ate the most nutritionally rich plant foods and very little adverse foods were 52% less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.

The research also pointed out that even switching to a plant-centred diet led to lesser risk in terms of cardiovascular diseases.

As this study is observational, it cannot be used to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the diet and heart disease. The research, however, does suggest that a nutritionally rich plant-centred disease is definitely good for the heart. And since it also shows that including more plant-based foods has its benefits, it might be a good idea to start taking more vegetables and fruits whenever you can.

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What is genetically modified food?

In July, the Philippines became the world's first country to approve commercial production of genetically modified "golden rice that experts hope will combat childhood blindness and save lives in the developing world. It is the first genetically modified (GM) rice approved for commercial propagation in South and Southeast Asia. Before we learn what's special about this rice, let’s understand what’s genetically modified food or GM food.

What's GM food?

As the name suggests, GM food involves the editing of genes of a crop in such a way that it incorporates beneficial traits from another crop or organism. This could mean changing the way the plant grows, or making it resistant to a particular disease. This is done using the tools of genetic engineering.

How is it done? Let us assume that scientists want to produce wheat with a high protein content and they decide to incorporate the high protein quality of beans into wheat. To make this possible, a specific sequence of DNA with protein-making trait is isolated from the bean (called the donor organism) and inserted into the gene structure of wheat in a lab The new gene or the transgene thus developed is transferred into the recipient cells (wheat cells). The cells are then grown in tissue culture where they develop into plants. The seeds produced by these plants will inherit the new DNA structure.

Traditional cultivation of these seeds will then be undertaken and we will have genetically modified wheat with a high protein content.

What went into the production of golden rice?

 Golden Rice is rice which has been genetically-modified to include genes that increase the beta-carotene content, a pigment that converts into vitamin A in the body. Though the parental strain naturally produces beta-carotene in its leaves, it does not produce the pigment in the grain.

Scientists developed the golden rice by transferring genes from daffodil and a species of soil bacteria. These genes will ensure the rice grain is rich in beta-carotene.

Why golden rice?

Scientists say, golden rice could help reduce vitamin A deficiency, thereby childhood blindness in developing countries. The World Health Organization data show vitamin A deficiency causes up to 500,000 cases ells of childhood blindness every year, with half of those dying within 12 months of losing sight Vitamin A is also essential for normal growth, development, and the proper functioning of the immune system.

Golden rice has faced strong resistance from environmental groups opposed to genetically altered food plants. However, the Philippines, where nearly 17% of children under the age of five are deficient in vitamin A, has decided to go ahead with the production of golden rice. Bangladesh is expected to follow suit.

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Does honey actually last forever?

Honey if stored properly, say in airtight jars, will not spoil. This is due to honey's unique composition - its acidity, low water content and the presence of hydrogen peroxide (an antibacterial substance) ensure that it stays good forever. Because of the low moisture content, bacteria and other microorganisms cannot survive in honey. How is honey made? Bees collect nectar from flowers and process it. The nectar, which loses most of its moisture when bees flap their wings, mixes with the enzymes secreted by the bees and turns into honey.

Honey is the only food item that is created with the sole purpose of being stored. Since bees need to eat during the winter, and plants aren’t flowering, their evolutionary goal was to create a food source that wouldn’t spoil after a few months. They needed something non-perishable (at least for a year or so) and nutritious — they needed honey. During its production, the bees slightly overcompensate, creating a food that has the potential to last for hundreds of years or more. No other food source is created this way.

In addition to having a low pH, honey has almost no water content and is loaded with sugar. This helps to dry out any bacteria that attempt to make its home in honey. Any bacteria that find itself in honey will have the water leached out of its cell walls thanks to osmosis.

The high sugar content and lack of water make honey a hypertonic solution, whereas bacteria and other living organisms are hypotonic. When you mix the two, they will equalize – this process is called osmosis. Since there is much more honey and sugar than bacteria, the bacteria lose the battle and have their water leached out of them into the honey. This causes instant death to any unfortunate bacteria.

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How many types of candy are there?

Candies are supposed to be simple. All sugar and some flavours, right? Well, not everybody would agree that candies have to be ordinary and unassuming. Let this month be an exploration of candies full of sugar, spice, everything nice and some more!

Let's not waste wrappers

Maybe, you love candies. Maybe, you love them so much that you can't even bother about wrappers. Maybe, you are an eco-friendly person. Well, surprise, this might be great news! Botan rice candy comes in delightful lemon and orange flavours and also wrapped in edible rice paper. How can this be any better? As if that wasn't enough, the candies come in a nice box with collectible stickers.

Candy bar with... crisps!

What happens when Tayto, a popular crisps manufacturer in Ireland, decides to step into the magnificent business of candy bar manufacture? Well, you might have guessed it. Chocolate candy bars filled with bits of onion and cheese-flavoured crisps. How it might have tasted is anybody's guess, but this was a limited-edition release. What will be the next thing coming out?

Perfumed candies, anyone?

What's shaped like sticks, tastes of bubblegum, toothpaste and smells like cologne? Did you guess musk sticks? That's right. This candy is strangely popular in Australia and New Zealand but it will take a brave soul to give it a try! Musk sticks are made of gelatin, sugar, pink food colour and have a strong flavour very similar to musk perfume. There you go! Just for the record, millions are sold every year, and there must be a reason for it, uh? Also, even if you don't like to eat them, hey, you can still use them as air freshener, right?

DIY candy

There are those of us who'd like to make our own fancy candy even if it takes some time. Popin' Cookin' offers a candy that involves a few minutes of work to create a marvel that looks like ramen noodle soup with boiled egg and cured fish but everything tasting like bubblegum and cola jelly. It's a double bonus for kids who love DIY crafts and candies.

Three-course meal gumballs

You expect to enjoy gumballs for time-pass. You don't expect it to provide you a taste of a three-course meal, right? It sounds like something that only Willy Wonka could create. Well, Thanksgiving Gumballs aim to change that. This tin of gumballs contains three different flavours - turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie. If this trend continues, we can sure forget spending hours in the kitchen for a decent meal!

A lollipop that's unique

Forget sweet lollipops in regular flavours. Super Pepino lollipops from Mexico is the bee's knees. This lollipop not only has a unique cucumber flavour, it is also encrusted with chili flakes! There you go - a sweet, tangy and spic lollipop with an amazingly unique taste. The only complaint is that it's super-addictive. Just - you know, this is not the only candy will chili powder. Mar Mexican candies liberally dusted with chili powder - art favourite among the kids and probably even the adults there!

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Why does Japan grow watermelon square shape?

Japanese square watermelons are more ornamental than they are tasty. As they are harvested much before they ripen, they are often inedible. But how are they grown? When the fruit starts growing on the vine, it is covered by a large, strong, cube-shaped box and the fruit assumes the shape of the box on maturity. It is said that they occupy limited refrigerator space and can be stacked up and stored easily unlike the natural variety. There is a huge demand for these highly expensive, ornamental fruits.

Generally the watermelons are in oval or round shape. By weight a normal watermelon is composed of 6% sugar and 91% water. This makes the fruit juicy and is one of the best fruits to consumer especially when it is summer time. What makes watermelons good to eat during summer is because of the presence of water that quenches thirst and prevents dehydration.

This is so famous around the world and common especially in tropical countries. In Japan there are distinct watermelons and it has something to do with the shape. Normally, we can see watermelons that are spherical in shape but this time, it is square.

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