IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  May 1, 2011

French dip or Italian beef

Whether it be the corner diner or a charming bistro, the French dip sandwich is a universal favorite. From the fast food versions to those prepared with left-over prime rib, it is hard to mess up this satisfying comfort food.

There are varying tales of the origin of Italian beef. Despite its name, it is rarely found on menus in Italy. It was concocted by Pasquale Scala 75 years ago in Chicago. Alís No. 1 Beef of Chicago also lays claim, while others believe it was first served in 1918 in Los Angeles.

French dip or Italian beef subs.

1 pound roast beef cut thin from deli
2 cups commercial grade au juice
1 can condensed French onion soup
4 sub buns, toasted
2 tablespoons green bell peppers. cut fine
1/2 cup hot peppers.

(porcini, sweet banana or Jalapenos), save some for garnish.

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
4 slices Provolone and/or Swiss cheese.

In a large saucepan, combine the au juice and French onion soup and heat to just below a boil. Cut the beef into two-inch strips and set aside.

Divide the au juice mixture, into two sauce pans. In the Italian beef sauce pan, add the fennel, basil, chopped bell peppers and as many of the hot peppers you want in order to agree with your desired heat and taste.

Reheat both au juice mixtures, adding half the meat slices to each, and bring to a boil.

If two French dips and two Italian beefs are being served, add the meat accordingly to each of the toasted buns.

Place the slices of Provolone cheese on the two Italian sandwiches. Place Swiss cheese slices on the two French sandwiches.

The recipe can be altered to make all four sandwiches French dips or Italian beef creations.

Dip the filled subs into one of the au juice mixtures for a delightful dining experience.

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Tomato juice protects bones

A new study shows that lycopene, a substance that makes tomatoes and other fruits red, reduces the bone resorption linked to osteoporosis.

At the University of Toronto's Calcium Research Laboratory, researchers say lycopene from tomatoes has previously been shown to have a protective effect on bones. Their new finding suggests that lycopene can be used as a natural complementary or alternative supplement for the reduction of bone absorption. It is especially recommended for women who are age 50 or more.

The doctors say it's possible that drinking a couple of glasses of tomato juice a day could keep osteoporosis away.

Other foods with high levels of lycopene include pink grapefruit, watermelon and guava. Among prepared foods, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce and paste, and ketchup are loaded with lycopene.

We don't get enough sleep

The annual Sleep in America Poll, done by National Sleep Foundation, shows that only four in 10 respondents say they get a good night's sleep on most nights. The poll questioned about hours of sleep, bedtime habits, and whether the respondent was seeing a doctor and taking sleep medications.

  • African Americans reported getting the least amount of sleep, 6 hours, 14 minutes on average, but they also say they need less sleep than others to perform best during the day. They were also more likely to pray before retiring.
  • Hispanics and African Americans were more likely to have sex before sleeping.
  • Watching television was the favorite pre-sleep activity for all groups.
  • Whites were the most likely to sleep with another person and also the most likely to sleep with a pet.
  • Asians were the least likely to be diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

    Because inadequate sleep is now associated with obesity, heart disease and diabetes, adequate sleep is recommended.


    Chuckles Corner

  • Dieting with whole grains reduces abdominal fat

    When you calculate the calories in your weight reduction diet, be sure to include the value of whole grains.

    An important clinical study of people age 20 to 65 shows that dieters who included plenty of whole grains not only lost more belly fat, they reduced an inflammation marker linked to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

    Over the 12-week study, all dieters got the same weight-loss advice, but half of them ate whole grains instead of refined grains. The two groups lost the same amount of weight, but the whole-grain group lost significantly more fat from the abdominal region than those who ate white bread and other refined grains.

    The whole grain group also experienced a 38 percent decrease in C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker linked to the risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. The reduction was similar to that seen with the use of statin drugs.

    Senior researchers for the study say a lot of foods claim they contain whole grains but are not really major sources.

    They recommend finding products in which at least 51 percent of grain comes from whole grain. Examples of such foods include oatmeal, whole grain cereal, brown rice, granola bars, popcorn and whole-wheat crackers.


    For oncoming colds, get zinc

    The recent review of scientific studies on the effect of zinc shows that the mineral may prevent some sneezes and sniffles, but it only works if you take it within 24 hours of the first signs of a cold.

    Researchers reviewed 15 studies of people who took zinc lozenges, syrups or placebos. The studies show that zinc cut the duration of colds by a day and reduced the severity of symptoms by 40 percent.

    Children who took zinc protectively for five months or longer caught fewer colds and had fewer sick days than kids who didn't take zinc.

    New toothpaste protects dental nerves

    A new treatment for patients suffering from tooth pain and sensitivity was introduced at the recent Chicago Dental Society conference. The sensitivity may be caused by excessive tooth whitening, acidic sports drinks and soda, or stress-related tooth grinding.

    A sensitive tooth's dentin tubules transmit pain to the nerve when exposed to heat or cold.

    For now, only dentists have the treatment, which has the protective ingredient NovaMin. It lays down a barrier and prevents transmission of pain.

    A high-fluoride commercial toothpaste containing NovaMin will be available to consumers in a few months.

    Avastin for newborn blindness

    Babies born before 30 weeks of gestation have immature eyes that result in uncontrolled blood vessel growth. It can lead to scarring and detachment of the retina, causing blindness. It happens to 3,000 to 4,000 babies each year in the United States.

    A study led by the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston shows that an inexpensive drug therapy far surpasses the conventional laser procedure in fixing the cause of blindness. Avastin is now used in the 15 hospitals that participated in the study.


    New procedure aids cure of tendon problems

    People who have struggled for months with pain in a frequently used joint may soon have a new option for treatment.

    Injecting a blood-derived liquid called platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the painful tendon tissue has shown significant success. The PRP is derived from a sample of their own blood.

    In the case of painful tendons, doctors at the Mayo Clinic have found that inflammation is not the cause. Rather, deterioration of the tendon is what causes pain. An MRI or ultrasound is used to detect abnormalities.

    Usually, platelets repair injured tendons by gathering at the site of an injury to form a clot. The platelets release growth factors and proteins that stimulate healing. If it doesn't happen, injecting PRP does the same job only better. At Mayo, one injection is used.

    It is effective in treating tennis or golfer's elbow, hamstring tendons, the knee's patellar tendon, the Achilles tendon, and the plantar fascia tendon on the bottom of the foot.

    The tendon is first anesthetized with an injection. A needle is then used to break up degenerative tendon tissue before the platelet-rich injection is given into the tendon. After the procedure, use of the tendon is limited for about two weeks before rehabilitation.

    Though the therapy is increasingly used and about 70 percent of those receiving it have improvement, patients may need more than one shot.


    Long-term use of nicotine replacement products is OK

    Smokers who want to quit often turn to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Nicotine is the most addictive chemical in cigarettes, and replacing it can ease the difficulty in quitting.

    At this time, public health officials are backing away from recommending against long-term use of nicotine gum, lozenges and patches.

  • The Food and Drug Administration wants to eliminate the 12-week warning on product packages and instead recommend that the quit-smoking aids be used for as long as needed, even if that means using them for years.
  • Producers of anti-tobacco therapies say their studies show that those who use them are about twice as likely to quit smoking after 12 weeks, compared to those who don't use NRT.
  • Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that smokers who use a nicotine patch for 24 weeks are more likely to stay off cigarettes.
  • NRT also helps those who quit by any method to stay smoke free. In times of stress, nicotine replacement helps.
  • At the cancer-prevention division of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., experts say there doesn't appear to be any great harm in using the products for a long term. People are much better off chewing gum or wearing a patch than smoking.
  • The hazards of nicotine pale beside the dangers of smoking, which is the leading cause of lung cancer and the most preventable cause of cardiac death.
  • About one in five American adults smokes, a rate that has remained virtually unchanged since 2004.
  • Quitters who have heart disease should consult their doctors before using NRT products. Nicotine can elevate heart rates and raise blood pressure.
  • Obtaining nicotine from a gum, lozenge or a patch doesn't entirely replace the pleasure of smoking, but nicotine can reduce the physical symptoms of withdrawal. Quitters are then more likely to overcome longings for the taste of tobacco, the sensation of smoke and various personal rituals.


    Good cholesterol linked to lower cancer danger

    When you remember family members or friends who have had cancer, one of your next thoughts may be, "How can I keep it from happening to me?"

    There is no simple answer, but as scientists work to determine the factors involved, they come up with findings that decrease cancer risk. Some of these findings would apply to you.

    Increase your good cholesterol

    The surprising result of studying many controlled trials indicates that for every 10 mg/dl higher increase of HDL (good) cholesterol, cancer risk dropped by 36 percent. The analysis was done by Tufts Medical Center's Molecular Cardiology Research Institute and colleagues.

    While researchers can't say for sure how high-density lipoprotein does it, they say HDL probably has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects that can reduce cancer risk. Or HDL might also be helping the body's immune system search out and destroy abnormal cells that could grow into tumors.

    They do know that HDL carries bad cholesterol from tissues to the liver, which removes it from the body.

    How to raise HDL levels

    One way is to eat fish. A study published recently in the Journal of Nutrition shows that increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish is associated with HDL increases. For every 10 percent increase in omega-3s, HDL levels rose by about 2.5 mg/dl.

  • Lower levels of omega-3s are found in walnuts and leafy green vegetables, flaxseed and soy products.
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages is associated with modestly higher HDL levels if it is done in moderation.
  • HDL levels are also increased by regular exercise, avoiding overweight and not smoking.

    Researchers say the optimum HDL level for heart protection is 60 mg/dl. That number is probably a worthy target for cancer prevention as well.

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