IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  April 1, 2012

This crustless quiche bumps up the taste and shaves the calories

Quiche, the savory custard pie, is usually attributed to French cuisine. It actually originated in the old kingdom of Lothringen, which was ruled by Germany in the 1870s.

The word, "quiche," is derived from the German "kuchen," meaning cake, and was originally a pastry shell or bread dough stuffed with egg cream custard and smoked bacon.

French chefs added ingredients like spinach, cheese and onions, dubbing their creations with surnames like Lorraine or Alsacienne quiche.

So how can you make a great treat even better? Make it more nutritious. Forget the pie crust!

Shrimp, crabmeat and spinach crustless quiche

5 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup baby shrimp
1 can crabmeat
2 tablespoons chopped chives
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
3 dashes nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch glass deep-dish pie pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until smooth and blended.

Add remaining ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Bake 30 minutes or until the eggs have solidified. Let cool 10 minutes and cut, using a pie server to retain the shape of the servings.

While quiche is usually associated with breakfast, it makes a great light fare for any meal.

Cups of fruit make a delicious and healthy side to accompany the dish.

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Mediterranean diet might reduce risk of memory loss

Eating fruits and vegetables is good for you, that's a well-known fact and one component of the Mediterranean diet. The diet also focuses on whole grains, nuts, olive oil, a moderate amounts of alcohol and small amounts of meat.

This group of foods has been shown to lower heart disease and stroke risk.
There's more. A study reported in the Archives of Neurology shows that the diet may also protect against blood-vessel damage in the brain, reducing the risk of memory loss.


Skin cancer drug may reverse Alzheimer's symptoms

Researchers could soon be taking an entirely new approach to clearing the amyloid formations in the brain that are related to Alzheimer's disease.

A cancer drug called bexarotine quickly and dramatically cleared amyloid in laboratory animals. At the same time, it improved brain function and social ability, and restored the sense of smell. The study appeared in the journal Science.


Keep off the weight you lost

Dieters interviewed for the National Weight Control Registry weighed an average of 224 pounds before losing 69 pounds. Over time, they maintained most of that loss.

One maintenance factor was walking an hour a day or burning an equivalent of calories from other activities.

A 160-pound person burns 204 calories walking an hour at 2 mph; 219 calories are burned doing Tai Chi, ballroom dancing or bowling; 314 calories are burned in an hour of walking at 3.5 mph, downhill skiing or playing golf (carrying clubs)


Chuckles Corner

Top source of hidden salt: bread

Here's a surprising discovery made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: the number one salt culprit in the United States is bread, including rolls and sweet rolls.

Americans get twice as much salt from bread products as from salty snacks, which only stand at number 10 in the CDC's list of the saltiest foods.

Breads and rolls aren't saltier than many other foods, but people eat a lot more of them, according to the CDC. Breads and rolls account for about 7 percent of the salt we consume.

About 40 percent of the salt we get is hidden. After bread, the next nine are:

  • Cold cuts and cured meats, such as deli turkey or ham
  • Pizza
  • Fresh and processed poultry
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches on bread or buns (including cheeseburgers)
  • Cheese
  • Pasta dishes
  • Meat-mixed dishes, such as meat loaf with tomato sauce.

    These 10 foods are responsible for 44 percent of all sodium consumed.

    Nine out of 10 Americans over age two get too much sodium. On average, they eat 3,300 mg a day.

    Experts say everyone over age 51, all African Americans and anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day.

    For everyone else, less than 2,300 mg is recommended. Consuming too much salt is linked to heart disease and stroke.


    Smoothie provides fast nutrition for breakfast, lunch or a snack:

    Put a frozen banana, a cup of skim milk and two tablespoons of peanut butter into a blender (add ice for a thinner consistency) and blend.

    You get 375 calories, 18 grams protein, 17 grams total fat, 4 grams fiber, 5 mg cholesterol, and 45 grams of carbs, says the Women's Nutrition Connection.


    If you don't have time to run or go to the gym ...

    Shape up and have fun in the living room with exercise videos

    There are dozens of DVDs out there featuring aerobic programs, strength training, yoga or Pilates. They include some you would really enjoy.

    At collegevideo.com, co-owner Jill Ross has identified popular exercise DVDs and categorized them for beginner, intermediate and advanced exercisers. You might rent a couple of these to see if you want to buy one. Many cost just $10 or $15.


    Denise Austin Shape Up & Shed Pounds is a low-impact cardio program with simple choreography, toning and a few lunges, plancks and push-ups.


    Ellen Barrett Live: Grace + Gusto is a series of ab-focused exercises. Moves are deliberate and graceful, but challenging. It includes ballet and yoga moves. Full Body Stretch by Karen Voight is a flexibility program with yoga and Pilates elements. It has calming instructions.


    Walk It Off & Tone It Up by Leslie Sansone has high-energy walking steps, including kicks, sidesteps and simple dance moves. It lasts for 60 minutes.
    10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates is designed in 10-minute segments that target specific areas, such as thighs, arms/shoulders and abs.


    Supreme 90-Day System led by Tom Holland is designed to reshape your body in 90 days. Has short but intense aerobic intervals and classic exercises.

    Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped! features simple moves with multiple repetitions. The steps aren't complex or tricky, according to USA Today.

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    Getting a calorie check from the vending machine

    Touch-screen technology is letting vending machine buyers check calorie counts before hitting the buy button.

    The VendScreen mounts on existing machines and displays each item being sold. It will be available soon.

    A new FDA rule says companies who operate 20 or more machines must display the calorie counts. Fortunately, the VendScreen links with the system vending machines already use. It automatically updates the nutritional information.

    Similar devices, such as the MIND from Vendors Exchange, also provide a digital display of nutritional information, show ads and run slide shows to promote products, according to USA Today.


  • Not the best idea?

    New demand for knee replacements at ages 40 and 45

    In the past, older people wanted knee replacements for pain relief so they could live a normal life.

    Today, people ages 45 to 64 and even age 40 and younger, want them so they can continue to participate in sports like skiing and activities like dancing. The number for knee replacements is skyrocketing.

    At the orthopedics and arthritis center of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, doctors say the demand has shifted toward the young. But those who want it at an early age should know that many will need a do-over later in life, especially if they participate in sports, according to the National Heath Interview Survey.

    The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says the report will help the nation grasp the health burden posed by early replacements. An initial surgery costs $20,000. Revisions cost far more. They are complicated and risky.

    Manufacturers say some prosthetic joints will last 30 years, but there are no studies to support that claim. The academy believes older people's knee replacements will last for their lifetime.

    Younger people need to discuss what they can expect in terms of longevity of the prosthesis and whether they would be better off delaying surgery. They should focus on the two major risk factors: obesity and playing sports.

    At the same time, their doctors should consider other treatments for knee pain and not be so quick to recommend knee replacement, the simplest answer.


    'Super broccoli' developed, coming by year end

    After 14 years of research and testing, British scientists have hybridized the standard broccoli plant with a wild variety found in Sicily. The new "super broccoli" has increased amounts of glucoraphanin, a natural compound that breaks down fat in the body, keeping it from clogging arteries.

    The new broccoli has two to three times as much glucoraphanin and also tastes slightly better and sweeter.

    Right now, it's marketed in some areas of the United States as Beneforte, but the new broccoli will probably be available nationwide this fall.

    Skin patches are more convenient than allergy shots

    Only about 5 percent of allergy sufferers take advantage of immunotherapy (allergy shots) to prevent seasonal symptoms. The shots must be taken for some time before immunity is developed.

    Doctors have long wanted an easier method, one that sufferers can use without going to a doctor's office for each shot.

    A study reported in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology shows that a skin patch developed in Switzerland was effective. Patients received six weekly patches prepared with grass allergens, patches they could apply themselves.

    Patch therapy appears to be safe, convenient and effective for most hay-fever sufferers, but it won't be available in the United States for some time.

    How to get enough B12 to keep your thinking sharp

    If you're not getting enough B12 in your diet, your cognitive ability score might not be as high as it could be.

    Doctors at Tufts University say evidence on vitamin B12 and thinking ability have been linked for a long time. Some of the earliest research at Tufts Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory connected low B12 levels to central nervous system problems.

    A new study reported in the journal Neurology shows that a low B12 score is connected with performance in organization, speed of thought and memory. In older people, it also predicted decreased total brain volume.

    The National Institutes of Health say the richest source of B12 is beef liver, which has eight times the recommended daily value (DV) requirement; 3 ounces of clams have more than five times the daily value.

    Other sources of B12 include trout with 90 percent of the DV, and 3 ounces of salmon with 80 percent.

    A cup of plain yogurt has 23 percent, the same DV as 3 ounces of broiled sirloin steak. A three-ounce serving of tuna has 17 percent.

    A cup of milk has 15 percent of the DV, and a large egg has 10 percent.
    People age 50 and older are advised to eat foods fortified with B12 or take supplements. At that age and beyond, they absorb less from natural sources.
    Fortified foods and supplements use a form that is more easily absorbed.


    Diet, lifestyle can help preserve vision

    The National Eye Institute acknowledges that the greatest risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is age. But they also say diet and lifestyle play important roles in preventing or slowing the progression of this sight-robbing condition.

    A Peking University study on effects of dietary intake of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin shows a 26 percent reduction of later-stage AMD and a 4 percent reduction of early-stage AMD.

    Contributing food sources identified in the study included spinach and other dark leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini, Romaine lettuce, corn and peas, along with egg yolks. The study included only foods, but supplements are also recommended.

    As early as 1994, Harvard researchers concluded that consuming food with these carotenoids lowered the risk of AMD. The studies were reported by Tufts University
    Lutein and zeaxanthin provide the yellow pigmentation in the center of the retina of the eyes. With aging, levels of these pigments decrease. The yellow color blocks harmful blue light from the retina, which can damage vision cells.

    Other preventive steps suggested by the institute include maintaining normal blood pressure, watching your weight, and not smoking.

    One study reported in the British Journal of Nutrition online shows that eating foods containing lutein may protect the eyes from problems caused by long-term computer use.