Monday, September 1, 2014

Study Connects Ramen Noodles to Chronic Disease

Study Connects Ramen Noodles to Chronic Disease

While it is well-known that processed foods are not a healthy choice (and should really be avoided entirely), many specific foods in this category have not been widely analyzed as to their health pitfalls. One very popular processed food choice worldwide is instant noodles.
A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition took a closer look at the effects of instant noodle consumption, and found that they may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a series of risk factors that make one more susceptible to chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The study consisted of analyzing the data of just over 10,000 adults who participated in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV, between 2007 and 2009. Each of the participants completed a food questionnaire to determine their dietary habits. Focus was placed on the South Korean population because of their high rate of instant noodle consumption, and the nation’s recent spike in heart disease rates.
When the results of the study were analyzed, the study authors concluded, “the consumption of instant noodles was associated with increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome in women, independent of major dietary patterns.”

Specifically, eating two more more servings per week of ramen noodles or another type of instant noodle was linked to metabolic syndrome. The association was especially pronounced in women. According to Dr. Hyun Joon Shin, the primary investigator of the study, this may have to do with biological differences between men and women, as well as varying accuracies in food reporting.
Dr. Shin also hypothesizes that the bisphenol A (BPA) found in many instant noodle packagings may be connected to the higher metabolic syndrome risk that women who ate these noodles experienced. BPA has been found to interfere with estrogen function in the body.
One major reason that instant noodles were found to have these risks, for both sexes, may well be the monosodium glutamate (MSG) that many brands contain. As we reported in detail in an earlier article, MSG has been linked to a long list of health detriments, including headaches, numbness, depression, obesity and a higher risk of certain cancers.
Asian NoodlesOn the new instant noodle study, Dr. Shin states, “this research is significant since many people are consuming instant noodles without knowing possible health risks. My hope is that this study can lay a foundation for future research about the health effects of instant noodle consumption.”
The bottom line? When it comes to instant noodles (and other processed foods, for that matter), it’s safest to stay far, far away.

-The Alternative Daily

7 Reasons to Eat Cucumbers and Put Them on Your Eyes Too

7 Reasons to Eat Cucumbers and Put Them on Your Eyes Too

The cucumber (Cucumis sativus), while somewhat underrated, is extremely nutritious and definitely worthy of celebrating. Usually grouped together with vegetables, it is actually a fruit, and a relative of both melons and squash.
Cucumbers have a rich and ancient history, and are thought to have originated in India thousands of years ago. These fruits are mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest surviving pieces of literature, which is set around 2500 BC.
The following are seven of the many reasons to keep delicious cucumbers stocked in your kitchen:
A hydrating and cooling food

These fruits are not only delicious, they are extremely hydrating. Cucumbers are composed of about 96 percent water. In addition, they contain essential minerals which help the body to replenish water lost through sweat, such as when you undergo intense exercise.
Dr. Susan Shirreffs, an exercise physiologist at Loughborough University, explains, “to be properly hydrated, you need to replace fluid lost from the body with one that’s similar to the body’s natural composition. Watery fruits and vegetables often contain levels of minerals and sugar that mirror this, so they can hydrate you more effectively than water alone.”
Cucumber also has cooling properties aside from hydration. It has been traditionally used to help relieve heartburn, and when smoothed onto the skin, may help to cool a nasty sunburn.
Rich in nutrients
Cucumbers contain beta carotene, several B-vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, as well as the minerals calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. These nutrients combine to give your body and mind the support that they need to function optimally, along with free radical-fighting antioxidant powers.
Cucumbers are also rich in fiber, which promotes better digestion and a healthy cardiovascular system.
Disease-fighting lignans
One of the polyphenol antioxidant groups found in cucumbers is known as lignans. When plant lignans enter the body, they are converted by gut bacteria into compounds which bind onto estrogen receptors. This action has been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers related to estrogen, such as breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancers.
A diet rich in plant lignans has also been associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease.
Other important anti-inflammatory antioxidants
Aside from lignans, cucumbers contain numerous flavonoid antioxidants, including luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin, as well as another antioxidant group known as cucurbitacins. These antioxidants provide the body with potent anti-inflammatory benefits, and have also been linked to aiding in the prevention of cancers and other chronic ailments.
On top of that, these fruits boast sterols, compounds which have been found to help reduce LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.
Supports healthy detoxification
Thanks to their high water and fiber content, as well as their numerous antioxidants, cucumbers are a great addition to a detox regimen. As they have a slightly-sweet, mild flavor, they make an excellent base for superfood juices and green smoothies, which are both delicious ways to amplify your detox.
Great for making probiotic pickles
One of the most famous preparations for cucumbers is to brine and ferment them into pickles. In fact, there are specific varieties of cucumbers grown specifically for making pickles, which are usually smaller and thinner-skinned than other cucumbers.
Not only are pickles a delicious compliment to a nutritious lunch, they also provide the body with probiotics, due to the fermentation process. Probiotics are important for supporting healthy gut bacteria, which are key to both proper digestion, and the optimal functioning of the immune system.
Note: Not all pickles are fermented; make sure the variety you choose is fermented to enjoy the probiotic benefits.
Give your skin a healthy glow
Cucumbers have been used in beauty regimens for generations. Their cooling properties, antioxidants and rich mineral content nourish the skin, making it look vibrant and youthful. The tradition of placing cucumber slices on your eyes at the spa works to reduce puffiness, and can leave you feeling – and looking – more alert.
The silica found in cucumbers not only improves skin condition, it can also aid in strengthening your hair and nails.
cucumbersThe best source of fresh cucumbers – aside from growing your own – is your local farmers market. Just make sure they are grown organically, as you don’t want to be consuming potentially harmful pesticide residues.
-The Alternative Daily

The Sunshine Vitamin: Get Your Vitamin D

The Sunshine Vitamin: Get Your Vitamin D

Experts agree that vitamin D is essential for your many aspects of your health, but the latest research questions vitamin D as a panacea for cancer and heart health. What you need to know now about vitamin D: how much you need, where to get it, and more.

Chances are, you’re confused about vitamin D — whether you should take supplements, how much you should take, and how it helps you. Some recent studies tout vitamin D as the new supervitamin while other research and experts have questions its wide-ranging benefits and even acknowledged the potential side effects from too-high doses. New research published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine is the latest in a slew of studies to cast doubt on the benefits of vitamin D supplements.
After a review of 19 trials and 28 observational studies, researchers found thatvitamin D supplements alone were not effective in reducing bone fracture risk, as previously thought. But because vitamin D promotes the body’s absorption of calcium, researchers concluded there is evidence that a combined vitamin D and calcium supplement can reduce fracture risk and boost bone health. The same research review found limited data to suggest that vitamin D can reduce cancer risk. In a separate review of vitamin D studies also out today, researchers concluded that there’s still no evidence that vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of heart disease.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is set to analyze this new research and release updated recommendations for vitamin D supplements. Currently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends adults consume 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, less than what is in two three-ounce servings of salmon, which provides 894 IUs. After age 71, the IOM recommends increasing intake to 800 IU. Still, some experts view these levels as too low, and the right dosage of vitamin D remains unclear.
As the debate around the importance of vitamin D supplementation wages on, remember that exposing yourself to limited amounts of sunlight and adding D-rich foods to your diet remain the most fail-safe ways to reap the benefits of vitamin D. Here, what you need to know now.
The Importance of Vitamin D
In addition to helping the body absorb calcium, vitamin D also regulates the body's calcium levels in the blood, as well as levels of the mineral phosphorus, which also helps to promote healthy bones and teeth.
Vitamin D deficiency can be serious, causing bones to deteriorate and weaken. In adults, a vitamin D deficiency can lead to the bone condition osteoporosis and, in children, it can cause rickets — soft and weak bones. Although more research is needed, some studies have suggested that vitamin D may have many other beneficial effects, such as boosting the immune system.
Where to Get Your Vitamin D
The body produces vitamin D on its own after exposure to sunlight. You can also take a vitamin D supplement or get vitamin D from certain foods though it can be challenging to get all the D you need from diet alone.
Foods rich in vitamin D include:
  • Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and oysters
  • Vitamin D-enriched cereal
  • Some eggs (but the hens must have been given vitamin D)
  • Vitamin D-fortified milk or juice
  • Margarine and butter
  • Dairy foods including cream and cheese
The Vitamin D Conundrum
So just how much vitamin D do you need? It depends on your gender and age. Get too little vitamin D, and you’ll feel the effects of vitamin D deficiency. Too much of it — and your blood can contain too much calcium, harming your lungs, heart, or kidneys.
Many physicians are now testing vitamin D levels in their patients and results often show low vitamin D levels. Based on these results, doctors often recommend much higher supplement doses, often 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day. However, a 2010 Institute of Medicine expert panel said that laboratory tests for vitamin D are not standardized and results vary widely among labs. Vitamin D deficiency may be overestimated, the panel concluded, and most American don't need more than the recommended amount of this nutrient.
How to Boost Vitamin D Levels
To get enough vitamin D from the sun, you need to spend about 5 to 15 minutes in the sun, just three times each week, without sunscreen. Too much sun exposure can cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer, so make sure you limit your exposure. Also, you can expose your arms and legs, but you should always protect your face with sunscreen. If you don’t feel safe in the sun, turn to your diet and a vitamin D supplement to get the vitamin D you need.
Remember that you still need vitamin D in the winter. For many people, especially those in northern climates, it’s hard to get enough sun during those months, and a supplement may be necessary. African-Americans and others with darker skin tones may also be less able to absorb enough sunlight for sufficient vitamin D production from the sun alone.

Job Posting - Accounting Manager

Accounting Manager

Description: The Barnes Foundation is seeking an Accounting Manager who is responsible for the day to day operations of accounting activities.  The Accounting Manager is also expected to make recommendations to the Director of Finance for developing and maintaining accounting principles, practices and procedures to ensure accurate and timely financial reporting. The Accounting Manager supervises the A/P Coordinator and Accounting Coordinator and must meet tight deadlines.

Established as an educational institution the Barnes Foundation carries out its mission by promoting appreciation of the arts and horticultural science, through the preservation, presentation, and interpretation of the collections of Albert C. and Laura L. Barnes.

Celebrated for its exceptional breadth, depth, and quality, the Barnes Foundation's art collection includes works by some of the greatest European and American masters of impressionism, post-impressionist, and early modern art, as well as African sculpture, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American textiles, metalwork, and more. The 12-acre Arboretum contains over 3,000 species of woody plants and trees.

The Foundation engages diverse audiences through its exceptional collections and related high-quality programs that reflect a broad range of periods and cultures and build on the founders’ innovative educational vision of transforming lives through the arts and horticulture.

  • Performs monthly and year-end closing procedures.
  • Manages all accounting functions, including revenue accounting, accounts payable and payroll.
  • Assists with daily banking activity.
  • Prepares monthly journal entries and supporting schedules.
  • Maintains general ledger including reconciliation of income statement and balance sheet accounts.
  • Assists Director of Finance with preparation for the annual audit and annual audit of the retirement plan and responds to auditors’ requests for documentation.
  • Reviews and reconciles gifts recorded in the G/L against Development’s numbers.
  • Reviews cash receipt entries.
  • Reviews, analyzes and posts accounts payable batches and assists Accounts Payable Coordinator as appropriate.
  • Reviews monthly bank reconciliations.
  • Coordinates with Accounting Coordinator to review payroll prior to processing; maintains currency in laws, regulations and best practices regarding payroll processing.
  • Maintains proficiency in ADP and other systems to assist with reporting and other tasks.
  • Assists with the preparation of the annual 99- and 1099 reports.
  • Supports the preparation of invoices and reports to grantors.
  • Provides analytical support to the Director of Finance and EVP, CFO & COO on special projects.
  • Assists with the preparation of financial information for Board meetings as well as committee meetings.
  • Assists in the development and implementation of new procedures and features to enhance the workflow of the department.
  • Provides training to new and existing staff as needed.
  • Performs other duties as requested.

Skills and Knowledge:

  • BS/BA in Accounting
  • Five to seven years prior supervisory experience in the accounting
  • Strong understanding of GAAP and Fund Accounting
  • Keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills and effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience in not-for-profit environment preferred
  • Knowledge and experience with Sage/MIP, ADP WFN preferred

Competitive Benefits Include: Group health and dental insurance; flexible spending accounts; short and long term disability and group life insurance; 403(b) with matching contributions; Employee Assistance Program; voluntary benefits; as well as paid vacation, personal time, sick time and holidays.

To Apply: Please apply online:

Please include your cover letter, resume and the names of three professional references with your application. Applications that fail to fulfill this requirement will not be accepted.

The Barnes Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a Drug-Free Workplace. We participate in E-Verify.

7 Cool Ways to Use Lemon and Orange Peels

7 Cool Ways to Use Lemon and Orange Peels

Famous for their ability to add a burst of freshness to any dish, sweet or savory, citrus fruits including lemons and oranges are well-known for their many health perks. The most pronounced of these is their high concentration of immune-boosting vitamin C.
We have written quite a bit about various citrus fruits, including the many benefits of drinking warm lemon water in the morning. While citrus fruits are very popular, and are widely embraced by many home cooks, too many of us are still throwing away the peels. This is unfortunate because much of the antioxidant content of these fruits is concentrated in the peel.
The following are seven reasons – culinary and other – that you should never throw away a lemon or orange peel again.
Embrace the zest
Use the zest of lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits to flavor your meals. Simply grate the peel and use fresh, or dry for later. Citrus zest tastes amazing in a wide range of dishes – including poultry, fish, pasta, grilled meats or vegetables, salads, soups, stews … the list goes on. In order to avoid any unwanted pesticides, always choose organic citrus.
Not only does it taste great, it provides you with fiber, antioxidants and essential oils. One of the main antioxidant groups found in citrus is known as limonoids. Limonoids have been linked to combatting many forms of cancer, including breast, mouth, lung and colon cancers.
Orange peels have the added benefit of the antioxidant hesperidin. The authors of a 2011 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology wrote, “orange peels are considered to be a cheap source of hesperidin which may be used in the pharmaceutical industry as a natural chemopreventive agent. Hesperidin and orange peel extract could possess antioxidant properties with a wide range of therapeutic applications.”
Note: If you have any kidney or gallbladder illness, ask your doctor before enjoying citrus zest.
Amplify your olive oil
Add a few organic orange or lemon peels directly to your bottle of organic, extra virgin olive oil. The longer the rind sits in the oil, the more it will become infused with the citrus flavor. This will add an exciting dimension when you drizzle it onto fish dishes and salads before you serve. You could also experiment with using it in your next batch of hummus.
Tone your skin
After you squeeze your lemon or orange, you can rub the inside of the peel directly on your skin. This will tighten your pores and serve as a toner. As it is more acidic, lemon will be more potent, while orange will be milder. Rinse well after applying to your skin.
Create fresh-scented instant humidity
Simmering a large pot of water, and adding some lemon and/or orange peels can instantly make your kitchen – likely your entire home – smell fresh. If you keep it simmering on the heat for a while, the steam will also add some humidity into dry, stale air.
Keep bugs at bay
Many types of insects are naturally repelled by citrus peels. Slicing lemon peels and using them to line the doors to your home which lead outside can help keep ants from entering. If they are already inside and congregating in specific areas of your home, simply leave some lemon peels there, too – they will likely evacuate quickly.
For garden slugs, a layer of orange peels over the soil can help deter them. Orange peels can also help keep mosquitos away; simply rub the inside of a peel on your skin.
Note: Do not rub citrus on exposed skin before going into direct sunlight.
Deodorize your garbage and garbage disposal
Keeping a few citrus peels in your trash cans, underneath the bag, can help to combat nasty garbage odors. Similarly, if your garbage disposal smells, running a few lemon or orange peels through can quickly neutralize the stink.
Make your kitchen sparkle
If the chrome in your kitchen is looking less than shiny, simply rub with a lemon rind, then rinse and buff with a cloth. This can also be effective for a stainless steel sink.
The above options are just a few of the vast uses for citrus peels – they can be handy nearly everywhere, and absolutely do not belong in the trash!
-The Alternative Daily

Fruit Sugar vs. Table Sugar

Fruit Sugar vs. Table Sugar

You may have heard that natural fruit sugar is far healthier than table sugar (sucrose). The answer to that is a bit more complicated than it seems.
The sugar found in fruit and the sugar found in that bowl of shiny white grains on your table are molecularly and chemically the same. Both are comprised of fructose and glucose molecules. The ratios are slightly different with fruit sugar weighing in at about 40 to 55 percent fructose depending on the fruit while sucrose is an even 50/50 distribution.
The primary difference between fructose and glucose is how they are broken down by the body. Fructose digestion is the sole responsibility of the liver, meaning an insulin response is never activated. Glucose, however, is broken down in the stomach, prompting a quick insulin rush.
Yet if both fruit sugar and table sugar are so chemically similar, why do we praise one and scorn the other? The reason is because fruit is loaded with a slew of other nutrients. For example, phenols are compounds that provide potent antioxidant capabilities. Stone fruits, or fruits with a central pit such as peaches, plums and apricots, are known for their high phenol content.
Berries, specifically blueberries, are among the highest antioxidant-rich fruits available thanks to their deep pigments. So while fruits tend to be higher in sugar than vegetables, the other compounds present work synergistically to provide the body with disease and inflammation fighting capabilities.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget to mention the fiber content in fruit compared to table sugar. Sugar is nutritionally void of any other nutrient, including fiber. The fiber found in fruit helps offset the insulin response.
Even the highest-sugar fruits, the dried variety, still provide beneficial fiber. Table sugar’s total lack of any other nutrient results in a quick burst of insulin production, followed by a “crash” not long after.
Table sugar is literally pure sugar and is what dieticians will refer to as “added sugar.” Anytime table sugar is utilized in a recipe, it is added to any natural sugars already found among the other ingredients. For example, a cup of apple slices contains about 11g of natural sugar whereas a cup of applesauce contains 22g.
To say one is “healthier” than the other from a molecular standpoint is false as they are practically the same compositionally. However, the means in which we consume them makes all the difference.
Dieticians suggest avoiding any added sugars, many of which are disguised using a slew of different names. Molasses, corn syrup, malt syrup, maltose and brown sugar are all added sugars providing no added benefit over another.
sugarsMany believe brown sugar is healthier than white sugar. While this holds true in terms of rice where brown rice maintains natural nutrients, the concept doesn’t transfer in the sugar realm. Brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar colored with molasses.
It’s important to keep in mind that all sugar, whether from a fruit or a packet, contains nine calories per gram. Fruits will provide you with numerous other disease-fighting compounds and plentiful fiber whereas added sugars will supply you only with added pounds around your waistline.
-The Alternative Daily

Probiotics and Weight Loss

Probiotics are getting a lot of attention for helping to regulate your digestive system. But can adding them to your diet have weight-loss benefits?

You may already be familiar with taking probiotics to counter stomach complaints or reduce the diarrhea that results from taking antibiotics. Probiotics, the “friendly bacteria,” are touted as an aid in improving immunity and managing digestion, but whether they have a significant role in weight loss is still up for debate.
Before you can decide whether to add probiotics to your diet, it helps to know what they are. “Probiotics are foods that contain live bacteria or other organisms that may promote your health,” says Amy C. Brown, PhD, RD, associate professor in the department of complementary and alternative medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. “They are naturally found in fermented dairy products and other fermented foods or beverages.” Probiotics are also available in supplement form.
Probiotics and Weight Loss: The Debate
“Recently the research world has been buzzing about how probiotics may help with weight loss,” says Brown. The theory is that probiotics may affect the way that energy (calories) is digested and therefore could help regulate the process by which energy can be used by the body, including becoming fat.
Brown recommends caution in the face of any such research: Probiotics are not magic diet pills, and they definitely do not give you license to stop counting calories or following your diet.
“I can tell you that the very minute those minor changes probiotics cause in relationship to metabolic pathways related to obesity occur, they will be immediately wiped out with an extra spoonful or sip of anything containing calories,” she says. In fact, a sugary yogurt could have more calories than probiotic benefit.
The Health Benefits of Probiotics
The recommendation to include probiotics in a healthy diet dates back to the 1930s. Probiotics can be used to help:
  • Diarrhea from infection, food poisoning, or antibiotics
  • Treat urinary tract infections
  • Prevent or treat yeast infections
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Eczema
  • Reduce the risk of bladder cancer returning
  • Protect against colon cancer
  • Improve the immune system
When the digestive tract is out of balance, people experience a lot of discomfort, says Brown. Probiotics are used to maintain that balance. “A balanced or ‘normal’ [digestive] flora may competitively exclude possible [harmful] organisms, stimulate the intestinal immune system, and produce nutrients and other [beneficial] substances,” Brown explains.
The Risks of Excess Probiotics
Researchers do not yet know how safe it is to eat a lot of probiotics. Some people experience gas or bloating as a reaction to these organisms.
“Probiotic research is in its infancy. It’s difficult to tell what would happen if you introduce a large amount of a certain bacteria through dietary supplementation,” cautions Brown, adding that probiotics have to be kept refrigerated. Many people unknowingly buy inactive supplements that haven’t been handled correctly.
How to Include Probiotics in Your Diet
While probiotics are available in supplement form, Brown emphasizes that it is best to get them from your diet if possible. Try:
  • Dairy products with live cultures, such as yogurt and buttermilk
  • Miso soup, which is made from fermented soybean paste
  • Poi, fermented taro root paste
  • Natto, fermented soy beans
  • Tempeh, caked fermented soybeans
  • Sauerkraut, fermented cabbage
  • Kombucha tea, fermented sweet tea brew
As long as you keep counting calories, adding probiotics to your diet may be good for your health and your weight. Just remember that its chief benefit may be more geared toward your well-being rather than your weight loss.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Weight Center.