Food Pharmacy

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2018 Nobel Medicine Prize Awarded for Cancer Research

Last week, we read an article in Sweden’s largest daily newspaper written by Amina Manzoor, in which she listed some of the scientists most likely to win the Nobel Medicine Prize this year. Among the predicted winners were David Allis and Michael Grunstein for their pioneering work in epigenetics and gene expression. Both Allis and Grunstein have studied the importance of histones, proteins in the chromosomes that play a crucial role in turning genes off and on.

Unfortunately, they were never awarded the prize, but no need to hang your head. This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to James P. Allison at Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Tasuku Honjo at the University of Kyoto “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation”. Congratulations!

Their work on how to mobilize the immune system to combat cancer is considered transformative and their discoveries constitute a landmark in the fight against the disease. Both James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo have studied proteins that function as brakes on the immune system. By releasing the brake and thereby unleashing the immune system to attack tumors, this year’s Nobel Laureates have established a new principle for cancer therapy. The game-changing therapy has already proven to be effective in the fight against several types of cancer, including lung cancer and melanoma.

The annual week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off yesterday with the Medicine Prize. The Physics Prize is to be announced today, followed by Chemistry tomorrow. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be named Friday and of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Monday.

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Food Pharmacy

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How to Freeze Food Like a Pro

Many assume that if the “use by” or “best before” date has passed, it means the product has gone bad. What a waste! Luckily, reducing food waste is easy. Using the freezer is a great lifeline to rescue food and all sorts of ingredients can be frozen, either before or after preparation. And once frozen it won’t spoil. Here are a few tips on how to freeze food like a pro. Love your freezer!

Portion control
Rookie mistake! Always remember to freeze your food in smaller containers or individual portions. If not, you’ll end up having to eat more than you can chew.

All sorts of food can be frozen
Like coconut milk, coffee and carrots, for example. In Sweden, each one of us wastes approximately one cup of coffee every day. That’s a lot of coffee over the course of a lifetime. We suggest you pour the coffee into an ice tray and freeze it. Eat the coffee ice cubes as a treat on their own, or use them for your next cup of iced coffee. Also, root vegetables are sometimes sold with the leafy green tops still attached. To make the vegetables last longer, always remove the greens from the roots and store separately. Place the vegetables in the fridge and the tops in the freezer, and save for later. Not only are the tops edible (and a great addition to your favorite smoothie), they also carry more nutrients than the vegetable itself.

Be sure to label
Foods can be kept in the freezer for a very long time, but not forever. High-fat ingredients, for example, spoil over time and shortens a dish’s frozen life. The less fat the longer they will last in the freezer. High-fat ingredients like nuts, shredded coconut and coconut milk will last for 4-5 months in the freezer, and low-fat ingredients such as berries and vegetables for up to 12 months.

Also, here are a few tips on how to cut down on food waste:

How to Reduce Food Waste
5 Tips to Reduce Food Waste

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Food Pharmacy

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Why You Should Always Choose Organic

An organic tomato is more expensive than a conventionally grown tomato. We know. Even so, we always choose organic over conventionally grown produce. Want to know why?

In a review of existing research published in the journal Environmental Health, a group of researchers identifies several benefits of organic food production for human health. In particular, the experts conclude, organic fruits and vegetables have lower levels of pesticide residues than conventionally grown food. The study, commissioned by a committee of the European Parliament and co-written by researchers from several European universities, was coordinated by Assistant Professor Axel Mie, affiliated to both Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

In conclusion, the evidence indicates that chemical residues in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables can cause major health risks. Several studies have focused on brain functions in children in relation to prenatal pesticide exposure, and high pesticide exposure during pregnancy has been associated with, for example, adverse mental development in young children.

Newborns and infants are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pesticides. According to research, five-year-old children have higher risk scores for development of ADHD if they have an increased level of pesticide residue in their urine. Consumption of conventionally grown foods may also increase the risk of allergies and obesity.

That being said, studies show that consumers who buy organic food tend to eat less meat and instead choose more vegetables, fruit and whole grain products – and, as you may know, each of these dietary characteristics is associated with a decreased risk for chronic diseases. Consumers who buy organic are also more physically active and less likely to smoke. Therefore, all connections between organic food consumption and health need to be adjusted for differences in dietary quality and lifestyle factors.

Nevertheless, if you buy conventionally grown tomatoes, they will contain pesticides (do you really want a pesticide-laced salad?). But the good news is that studies have shown that pesticide residues in urine can be markedly reduced after only 1 week of limiting consumption to organic food.

Still having a hard time choosing between organic and conventional tomatoes? Try your best to limit pesticide exposure (yes, buy the organic tomato), but first and foremost, eat your veggies. Choosing conventionally grown food is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.

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Food Pharmacy

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7 Must-Have Spices for Fall

Antioxidants are, as you may recall, the body’s primary defense against free radicals, and as such they protect the body against inflammation and illness. Spices are loaded with antioxidants, and they’re an extremely effective shield against inflammation. Before we realized how amazing herbs and spices can be, salt (and sometimes pepper) was our go-to seasoning for everything in the kitchen. That was it. Now, we fill our entire kitchen with spices: dried spices go into the spice cabinet and fresh herbs go into pots, as well as in the refrigerator and freezer. And suddenly, antioxidant levels were boosted in all of our simple, everyday meals.

Different herbs and spices have varying positive effects on our health, so remember to always mix as many as possible. In general, eating a wide variety of foodstuffs is good for you (try to eat at least 30 different foods each week). If used in cooked dishes, add herbs and spices last and try to avoid heating them too much in order to preserve all the benefits. It’s not going to get us a Michelin star, but hey, who cares.

Today’s challenge: Try a new spice! If you haven’t already done so, put these seven antioxidant-rich spices on your list to try:

Cinnamon
We love cinnamon. However, the most popular brand of cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, contains a compound called coumarin, which in large amounts is toxic to the liver. In small amounts, it’s not harmful, but if you’re like us and eat a lot of cinnamon, it’s better to use Ceylon cinnamon.

Turmeric
Researchers have studied turmeric for many decades and it has, among other things, been shown to affect a specific gene associated with both depression, asthma, eczema and cancer. Optimizing turmeric absorption can be tricky, but some say heating turmeric will increase its solubility and enhance absorption. Also, freshly ground black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin, the bright yellow pigment and active ingredient in turmeric.

Clove
Many Swedes associate clove with Christmas, but we use it in various shots, chia puddings and raw energy balls several times a week, as it is an excellent source of antioxidants.

Garlic
We eat raw garlic every day. Our mouths are watering just thinking about a hummus with fresh parsley, lemon and garlic. More than once, Mia has told Lina to cut down on garlic for the sake of the other colleagues.

Ginger
Ginger will spice up your life and liven up your green smoothie. For thousands of years, the root has been used to treat everything from colds to migraines and high blood pressure. We love ginger!

Dried oregano
Very tasty in a warm tomato sauce, but works just as well in a quick vinaigrette. Imagine some cold-pressed olive oil, a few drops of apple cider vinegar, maybe a teaspoon of mustard and a lot of oregano … Yummy!

Chili pepper
We love spicy food! At first, we were a bit sensitive, but now we’re accustomed to eating spicy food regularly. It will take a little while, but overtime you can become more tolerant. However, if you’ve added too much chili, stir in a spoonful of yogurt or honey to calm down the heat.

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