Sunday, August 26, 2007

Time is ripe for tomato recipes

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. It's that time, when vines are laden and recipes suddenly become scarce.
Today's recipes for Gazpacho (requested by T.H. of Glencoe), Fresh Tomato Soup (requested by A.B. of Joliet) and Eggplant and Tomato Gratin (requested by V.F.B. of Stickney) are exceptional ways to make the most of ripe tomatoes.
Lorraine Wisvader of Romeoville shares a Gazpacho recipe her sister gave her more than 30 years ago. The Gazpacho is perfect accompanied by fresh fruit, Fontina or Muenster cheese and crusty bread.
If you prefer hot soup, the Fresh Tomato Soup, created by Diana Rattray and submitted by Josie Baker of Chicago, is a classic.
Cooking Light's Eggplant and Tomato Gratin, which makes 8 servings, is easy:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange 1 pound eggplant (Japanese eggplant is preferred) in ?206-140?-inch slices in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat slices with cooking spray; sprinkle with ?206-140? teaspoon salt. Bake for 16 minutes, turning eggplant over after 8 minutes. In bowl, combine ½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, ?206-140? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 4 minced garlic cloves.
Arrange half of baked eggplant slices in 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 plum tomatoes (?206-140?-inch thick slices) over eggplant slices. Top with 1 medium zucchini (?206-140?-inch thick slices). Sprinkle with half of cheese/seasoning mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining baked eggplant slices, plum tomato slices, zucchini slices and remaining cheese mixture. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese is golden.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gym workouts might be useless

Slaving away in the gym might just be a waste of time for many, for one in every six persons doesn't get any benefit from it in shedding weight or toning the body, as the receptivity to exercise actually lies in our genes, a Louisiana State University study has found. As part of the study Dr Claude Bouchard and colleagues examined the differing effects on 742 sedentary people from a 20-week exercise programme, in which the intensity was gradually increased. The researchers measured ability to process oxygen, ability to pump blood round the body, pulse rate, blood pressure and insulin resistance in the subjects. The study found that 10-15 per cent of volunteers were 'non-responders' to aerobic exercise. In some volunteers the peak rate at which their muscles could process oxygen increased by up to 40 per cent, while in others there this key measure of cardiovascular fitness, known as 'VO2 max' did not improve at all. "Some people simply respond better to exercise. They have lower heart rates, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, better response to insulin and a host of other positive responses. Others who exercise the same amount, simply don't get all the benefits, and it appears to be in the genes," the researchers said. The researchers are now trying to identify which genes are responsible for receptiveness to exercise.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Milk helps in weighty matters

Drinking milk after heavy weightlifting could help burn more fat, a new Canadian study shows. Milk may be best known for its calcium content in supporting bone health but the latest research shows how it promotes body fat loss and has the ability to aid in muscle growth. Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario took 56 men aged between 18 to 30 years and divided them into three groups. They were put through a rigorous, five-day-per-week weightlifting programme over a 12-week period. Following their workouts, study participants drank either two cups of skim milk, a soy beverage with equivalent amounts of protein and energy or a carbohydrate beverage with an equivalent amount of energy, which was roughly the same as drinking 600 to 700 ml of a typical sports drink. When the study concluded, researchers found that the milk-drinking group had lost nearly twice the amount of fat that the carbohydrate beverage group lost. The study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those drinking soy lost no fat. At the same time, the gain in muscle was much greater among the milk drinkers than either the soy or carbohydrate beverage study participants. "The loss of fat mass, while expected, was much larger than we thought it would be," said Stuart Phillips, an associate professor at McMaster University. "I think the practical implications of these results are obvious: if you want to gain muscle and lose fat as a result of working out, drink milk."