Spotlight: Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

Being half Japanese comes with it’s perks, one of those being a broadened spectrum in all things regarding gastronomy.

Natto may scare the living daylights out of some, or have the others sighing in pleasure – the wafting aroma that can only be oxygen deprived bacterial growth accumulating on week old soybeans definitely stirs up some mixed reactions in people.

The little pocket usually comes with two sauce-type sachets, one is an amber fluid (soy sauce) the other is a yellowish smaller packet of mustard.

These little white mystery packs contain a deliciousness that is hands down one of my staples. 
You can add both, or none! (though I would personally recommend adding the soy sauce) – otherwise the end product is quite bland.

Mix the two together and you create a marriage of flavoury goodness.

FYI: The sticky- ladyfinger/okra snail-like slime enveloping these once vibrant green legumes comes as a shock to many Westerners. Or maybe it’s just the smell?

Forget your Spirulina shakes or poached eggs with avocado for brekky. Like most health foods – Natto boasts some of the best macronutrients around.

===============================================================

Breakdown: Nutrient style.

A cup of this stuff contains HALF your recommended protein and Magnesium and over 80% of your recommended iron intake! (Take that steak!) Not to mention the generous addition of calcium and vitamin C contained in there too (1).

Add some avocado and you have yourself a… (yes I’m actually going to do this)

vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten free, meat free, whatever the hell else superfood!

I just had this delightful beauty for lunch!

The combination of high protein, paired with the fiber and iron of this breakfast staple in japan will refuel my muscles with energy (still aching from that body attack class I did an hour earlier).

There was also a japanese study in the journal of nutrition stating that Natto had the highest single source of the vitamin K2 in foodstuff, this was linked to an endemic population that had significantly higher levels of bone health (2).

Maybe this is why you don’t see many Obachans (Grannies) confined to wheelchairs in their mid 80’s?!

You won’t find Natto in your local Coles or Woolies – check out japanese specialty stores such as GoGo Mart.

A few weeks left of my Uni holidays, can’t wait to go back and learn some more. My brain is yearning knowledge!

Eat well, sleep well, eat some more. 

===Anna Freeman===

=== Student Dietitian===

Biography:

  1. http://www.nutritionvalue.org/Natto_nutritional_value.html
  2. Kaneki, M., Hedges, S., Hosoi, T., Fujiwara, S., Lyons, A., & Crean, S. et al. (2001). Japanese fermented soybean food as the major determinant of the large geographic difference in circulating levels of vitamin K2. Nutrition, 17(4), 315-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0899-9007(00)00554-2
Advertisements

Spotlight: B vitamins 

No, I’m not talking about the ones that are stuffed into an overpriced plastic container in pill form that boast of having ALL the essential vitamins.

Nor the ones advertised as ‘ARE YOU UGLY AND DON’T HAVE NICE HAIR?’

 – ‘BRITTLE NAILS THAT DETRACT FROM YOUR FABULOUSNESS?’

– How about my personal fave: ‘TIRED OF BEING TIRED ALL THE TIME?!’ WELL, HERE’S THE SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS! ONLY $45.85!’

…….No

I’m talking about the ones in SIMPLE food. Food that certainly doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg (no activated charcoal here)!

Back to basics

Vitamin B is one of the WATER soluble vitamins, this means that an excess is excreted in the urine (so generally, they aren’t toxic).

Water soluble vitamins are thus: NOT STORED, with the exception of B12- Coablamin.

The vitamin B complex is the broad term for the 8 major B vitamins, all of which are essential in the diet.

I’m not going to cover all 8 here because seriously;

no one cares.

-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

So I’ll get right to it; (the important stuff).

The B Vitamins, in layman terms; have the principal role of making sure you extract energy from your macronutrients- fat, protein and carbs.

I know this image just makes you want to hate life (it sure made me think so). But have a look, these are the co enzymes of the B-vitamin complex. In each bubble you’ll most likely see a  TPP,FAD or NAD (these are the first 3 B vitamin co-enzymes derived from the vitamins I mentioned earlier – Vitamin B1,B2 and B3 respectively)
This just highlights the sheer IMPORTANCE of these little vitamins in our lives. Glycogen being converted intoglucose and then

pyruvate on the left via Glycolysis. Triglycerides and fatty acids entering the TCA as the 2 carbon CoA in the middle,

and Proteins transaminating to amino acids and entering the TCA on the right.

If you are deficient in a certain co-enzyme you can slow this whole reaction down – you’ll NEVER stop the TCA, that’s impossible and would mean you’d be dead.

B what

Vitamin B1,B2 and B3 are my chosen vitamins of choice, I could go all the way to B12, but we both know that’s not going to happen.

  • B1   = Thiamine

  • B2   = Riboflavin 

  • B3   = Niacin 

That’s a mouthful already right

Where can I found them & how much do I need?! 

Don’t buy overpriced pills, eat some bread instead!

I won’t give you an intense encyclopedia on the foods that contain the highest amounts of B1,B2,B3 etc… But I will give you a basic understanding of cheap and healthy food that will give you what you need.

  • B1   = Thiamine

Now, B1 is really easy to get your hands on. If you live in Australia (yay) or NZ, the food industry has actually FORTIFIED many staples of grain to be enriched with B1; Including bread, cereals and pasta.

Nuts and Soymilk are also a relatively good source of B1. One 85g lean Porkchop has over 90% of the RDI for thiamine (making it an excellent source) So unless you’re on some intense diet without carbohydrate you’ll probably be meeting this without thinking about it.

This was the only image I could find with a moderate amount of vegetables, I’d be happier if the salad made up 3/4 of the plate and the pork was a quarter of the size and not barbecued… but hey; beggars can’t be choosers.

——NB—–

Was just doing some research on the side, and found that drinking loads of tea >1L a day can hinder your ability to adequately absorb B1 by interacting with the tannin compounds (1). I know this won’t affect many of you but just thought i’d point it out.

Ah tannins, responsible for that so called ‘tannic’ flavour in your mouth after you have some tea – bitter and tart.
  • B2   = Riboflavin 

Another important vitamin in the metabolism of energy, remember FAD? If you don’t I don’t blame you, it’s boring AF. 

The highest concentrations of B2 are found in animal sources, especially liver (with over 150% RDI in an 85g fried serve).

Mmm, not that appetizing in truth is it? Though it does boast some EXCELLENT health benefits.

Not a fan? try some yogurt or eggs instead. If you simply can’t do that, fortified breads and cereals will also give you an adequate shot of Riboflavin goodness.

And for those… Gluten-free,Organic, Vegan, Frutarian, (whatever I’ve missed) try 2 and a half cups of mushrooms or 11 bananas, that should do the trick.

  • B3   = Niacin 

Another one which is relatively easy to get into you without noticing. Nician can transaminate with Tryptophan (it’s an a-amino acid), so if you’re ever too low or too high in one or the other they’ll balance each other out (the body is amazing right?).

Fun fact, since Christmas has just passed us… If you’re anything like me; you would have stuffed your gob with turkey a few days past and fallen into the deepest sleep ever?

It’s widely (and wrongly) accepted that tryptophan induces sleep, and for some reason… people associate tryptophan levels to be particularly high in turkey.

A common misconception, it’s like the nutritious MYTHBUSTERS!
However studies have shown that tryptophan levels in the big bird are actually not significantly different to that of other poultry! (2)

“Paradoxically, what probably makes people sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is…dessert,” he adds, “Eating carbohydrates increases brain serotonin in spite of the fact that there is no tryptophan in carbohydrates” Ballantyne, 2016

So it’s not the turkey – but the trifle, that takes you onto the fast shuttle to snoozeville, post Christmas lunch.

The more you know right?

Niacin is found in…. like the above, fortified breads and cereals (you’d probably now know why you feel so lethargic without carbs – Carbs contain alot of the B-vitamins).

It’s also found in meat sources such as chicken breast, tuna and liver.

Veg lovers don’t worry, mushrooms and peanut butter also have a good hit of the stuff, you just need 2 cups of cooked mushies or 2 tbs of Pb.

The NRV’s (Nutrient Reference values) from the Australian Dietary guide will give you a brief overview on how much of each B vitamin you need daily. Ugh does that mean I need to click the link?

So much effort.

It’s alright guys, I’ve condensed a table for you all.

b129f7227abad5debbf1529d0eb727ee
Courtesy of the Australian and NZ NRV guide
*already you can run into some confusion with this table (Damnit! why does Nutrition have to be so complicated!).

Two different terms:

RDI: or Recommended Dietary intake, RDI is centered around an average adult. Of course this value changes depending on such a host of different factors that it’s moreso a average framework rather than a set-in-stone guideline.

and

AI: or Adequate Intake: AI measures the adequate intake for the health and well being of at least 50% of the population.

You’ll also notice the measures: ug and mg 

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING 

The latter is Miligrams the former is Micrograms! the difference between 1mg and 1 ug is 1000 units! You don’t want to be eating 100ox the recommended intake of the vitamin because…. well, for one it’s a waste. Secondly, (rarely) you could get a toxicity by ingesting that much.

=============================================================

Deficiencies : (now the interesting stuff!)

  • B1 deficiency can be nasty on the body to say the least. The deficiency itself can manifest as the condition known as ‘Beri-Beri‘.

And it can certainly be…. Beri Beri bad

I’m sorry, that was terrible.

There’s two forms of Beri beri that can be diagnosed;

Wet Beri beri or Dry Beri-beri.

The former causes weakening of the circulatory capillaries leading to odema (swelling of the tissues with fluid) due to the reduction of oncotic pressure at the venous end.  Patients may have increased heart rate, confusion and labored breathing (as milder symptoms).

Odema in the left arm, note the significant change in size. This is purely due to a build-up of fluid. 
Dry beri-beri is associated with nerve parenthesis (losing the sense of touch or pain), Emancipation and difficulty walking, talking or breathing.

Similar in appearance to those campaign adverts you see on television regarding malnourished  children right?
Because this particular vitamin is most abundant in carbohydrate rich sources, first world countries do not often see persons afflicted with Beri-Beri.

In the first world it’s  much more common to see conditions such as Wernikie’s Encephalopathy or WKS; in persons who are chronic alcoholics. Chronic Alcohol abuse can actually diminish the body’s stores of B1 and over time and can cause symptoms shadowing that of Beri-beri.

=============================================================

  • B2 deficiency can manifest itself as Arabinflavinosis;

A scary dermal condition which can effect your eyes, skin and practically anything on the outside of your organs – reports of anemia have also been documented in these individuals.

B2 deficiency is often observed in the poorer provenices of  south east Asia or Africa – where corn, rice or potatoes are the main carbohydrate source of the population.

Chelosis at the corners of the mouth, common in Arabinflavinosis. We’ve all experienced this atleast once right? Credit: vitaminstore

Fun fact: want a party in your toilet?

 No… Not the type you were thinking; 

An excess consumption of B2 produces fluorescent urine!   (I’m not saying to go do it for the lols by the way 

literally…. credit wikipedia
 ============================================================

  • B3 (and to a lesser extent tryptophan) deficiency is witnessed as Pallagra. 

Pellagra can manifest itself as a particularly severe deficiency. Usually characterized by the three D’s: Dementia, Diarrhea and, (left untreated) Dermatitis. 

I call it ‘Sandman disease’ because patients can develop sandpaper like skin, the consistency of which eventually turns a grey-blue- black colour.

Since NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) and it’s phosphorolated version NADP are the cofactors of Nicain – a deficiency in Nician would lead to the eventual decline of all NAD available to the body. NAD is an EXTREMELY important co-enzyme in the body’s metabolism (remember that really ugly diagram)? NAD was practically everywhere.

So what’s it like to have Pallagra? 

Credit: Itg, 2016
Imagine yourself with a inflamed beefy tongue that hurts when you talk, large angry scabs appearing everywhere on your body. Your constantly tired- but unable to sleep, hence you’re going to naturally be pissed all the time. You’re also now very sensitive to sunlight and you’re losing your hair. And to top it all off, you’re losing the ability to perform simple co-ordinated movements and eventually forget who you are and what you’re doing.

Doesn’t sound that great does it? 

Final thoughts

I think the main thing I wanted to emphasize in this post was the importance of having a balanced diet. Like I mentioned; it’s very uncommon to see these conditions in first world countries such as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and parts of Asia. But they still exist to remind us of the importance of meeting those RDI values.

——- Anna Freeman, student Dietitian ——

Bio

1. BALLANTYNE, C.Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?

In-text: (Ballantyne, 2016)

allantyne, C. (2016). Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?. Scientific American. Retrieved 1 January 2016, from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-does-turkey-make-you-sleepy/

2. NLM.NIH.GOV

Thiamine (Vitamin B1): MedlinePlus Supplements

Chemicals in coffee and tea called tannins can react with thiamine, converting it to a form that is difficult for the body to take in. This could lead to thiamine deficiency.

In-text: (Nlm.nih.gov, 2016)

Nlm.nih.gov,. (2016). Thiamine (Vitamin B1): MedlinePlus Supplements. Retrieved 1 January 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/965.html

3. NRV.GOV.AU

Nutrient Reference Values | Nutrient Reference Values

In-text: (Nrv.gov.au, 2015)

Nrv.gov.au,. (2015). Nutrient Reference Values | Nutrient Reference Values. Retrieved 1 January 2016, from https://www.nrv.gov.au/

4. ITG.AUTHOR-E.EU

Illustrated Lecture Notes on Tropical Medicine – Pellagra

In-text: (Itg.author-e.eu, 2016)Itg.author-e.eu,. (2016). Illustrated Lecture Notes on Tropical Medicine – Pellagra. Retrieved 6 January 2016, from http://itg.author-Websit

5. THEFREEDICTIONARY.COM

ariboflavinosis, (TheFreeDictionary.com, 2016). TheFreeDictionary.com,. (2016). ariboflavinosis. Retrieved 6 January 2016, from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/ariboflavinosis

I WANT YOUR BLOOD

Not literally.

But that is how i felt today when the friendly Bloodvan came along to Uni and parked quite squarely into my usual parking space.


What’s a bloodvan you ask?

well, It’s pretty much; a van.

A van that takes blood from willing volunteers.

Now, before you run off telling all your friends that vampires are real and they’re making a comeback with six wheels, lets not get carried away.

The Bloodvan, lets just call him Bloody, comes along maybe every 5 months or so and he stays for around a week before it’s off to get more blood from somewhere else, kinda like a massive mechanical mosquito.

without the malaria.

Or the wings for that matter.

Or any weird high-pitched screechy noises that wake you up in the middle of the night and make you hyper anxious and flap your blankets wildly in the air at any attempts to thwart the little bastard.  And you’re just like….

kill_it_with_fire

where was I.

Oh yeah,

Bloody is roughly a trapezoid shape with some windows, about 10metres long and completely red. It’s got a massive Blood droplet on its side with some very happy people on the side with a speech bubble saying

I survived x because of you, thanks!’

and on the other side;

‘save a life today!’

 

Bloody couldn’t have been more  propagandistic if he tried.

I remember the first time i donated blood…. It was only a  year ago. it was with my best friend, and we were well, young 18 year olds with a newfound sense of independence and daring.

No idea what to expect….

So we rolled up our sleeves, we drank at least 4L of water before and patiently sat outside, waiting for the unknown. I swear we ran to the toilet 10 times within a space of 2 hours that day.

The process was relatively simple, you sign up, or call. Tell them what day and what time you can come in, and then wait….

Alot.

When you walk into the van it takes a little while to adjust to the area. When i was young, I attended musicals and theatres where the dancers disappear behind the curtain after their part is done, I found that entering the Blood van is a lot like that.

From the outside looking in, it looks really mysterious, your mind drifts away with imagination. What are behind those doors? are there blood bags lying around everywhere?  are the nurses who run the program actually mad scientists who strap you down and poke you with things like they do in those horror movies? Are there blood drained bodies and vampires lurking around?

Let me just say…. it is nothing like that.

It’s also very interesting. As you walk inside you find it hard to believe that in such a confined space there is SO much room!  As one of my favourite TV characters says ‘

‘It’s bigger on the inside!’

See what i did there David Tennant…..

Doctor-Who-doctor-who-for-whovians-28293698-426-240
Why do i even bother

There’s no straps or blood bags lying around, there’s no mad scientists and certainly no vampires.

In fact the whole procedure is over in around 5-10 minutes, they’re VERY accommodating and make you feel very comfortable. If at any time you feel uncomfortable they let you go

And I know a lot of people will never give blood, because the mere thought of needles is enough to freak them out…. but!

Watching the venous blood drain away from my arm, it was fascinating.

Not in the freaky, psychopathic kind of way, but in the way that this blood, MY blood was leaving me and going to someone else.

Someone who could be a few hundred metres away ( the local hospital is attached to my University). And it was my life force, my precious scarlet fluid.

Thousands of litres of it circulated around my body every year, tonnes of it in a lifetime, a tsunami worth of blood; held captive in us all.

And what do we do?

keep it all for ourselves.

When they only take around 400ml of it, that’s less than a water bottle worth. Once every year, if everyone did that we would NEVER run out of blood. Hospitals wouldn’t need to plea with the public to donate a portion of your blood.

Everyone wants to be a Hero.

And saving a life?

Well, I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty heroic to me.

TIPS AND TRICKS

– don’t go if you’re tired, afraid of needles or dehydrated

-don’t go if you’re anaemic

– drink HEAPS of water, like you’re literally going to explode amounts

– you need to be ATLEAST 50kg and a healthy weight.

Update: this is how your arm looks a day after…

PROS!

– you get your blood results and blood type!

– you get FREE FOOD!!!!

– your blood ( that’s free in your body) IS SAVING A LIFE!

CONS:

needles ARE pointy.

– no exercising that night.

– you feel a little tired afterwards.

Remember! the number is 13 14 95

Hello world!

STOP WAIT A MINUTE…. fill my cup put some liquor in it!’

……Were the lyrics that I awoke to this morning when my Pandoraradio started my rotation of ‘feel good’ music. Unless you are a complete termite and live under some rock or something, you probably wouldn’t recognize the lyrics above as being Bruno Mars’; ‘Uptown funk’. Dubbed one of the many songs that reflect today’s ‘quality music’. Deemed so by our elusive top 100’s billboard of modern music.  So today, avid reader; I’m going to start this new blog with something  I  find very interesting!

What is it that makes music so #catchy? I later checked out the lyrics and after a bit of heavy research (ahem, lyric meanings.com) was appalled at the message it was sending.

I gasped as i realized…. I had fallen victim, as many have; to the ‘pop culture of today’.

Now you could talk to my Greece/High school musical crazed best friend Ash… she would preach that musicals and pop culture was the definitive ‘style’ of music that keeps life interesting.

Then you could talk to my Boyfriend and if you even mentioned a whisper of ‘Remix, Top 100’s or RnB’, and he would literally stare you down.

with daggers.

So……

What is it that draws us to like certain styles of music?

I personally like a mix of 80’s 90’s and the earliest songs of this millennium. I must admit though, you might catch me bobbing my head along to some of Taylor Swift’s ‘Style’ now and then.

I remember reading an article a few years ago, stating that all Music plays with our emotions subconsciously, whether it be with a message, a progression of chords that we find appealing, down to the very voice whom owns the song.

(for me it’s got to be Coldplay, i don’t know why, but Chris’ pitch and tempo is perfect)

What i found particularly interesting however, was the fact that a lot of 3/4 time signatures  ( the typical 1,2,3 and  a 1,2,3) of modern and reminiscent music alike,  in fact, correlate with the beating of our hearts.

‘The investigators report that listening to music initially produces varying levels of arousal – accelerated breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate – that are directly proportional to the tempo of the music and perhaps the complexity of the rhythm.’ (ABC news 2005)

Now you could argue that Remix music, i.e

a) Timmy Trumpet’s ‘Freaks’

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1dquH_KOQc

which has little to no use of emotive, expressive or influential language whatsoever.

Just check out the lyrics honestly;

The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war!
Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor!
The bass and the tweeters make the speakers go to war!
Ah, the mighty trumpet brings the freaks out to the floor!’

~ Timmy Trumpet, ‘Freaks’ 2014

But if you for a moment listen to the beat of the song from :55 to 1:00 and then for the remainder of the song from 1:55 to 2:56 you can actually hear the overriding beat behind the song as a definitive; one, and two and three and four, repeated over and over.

Does this not correlate somewhat to a heart beat?

Take another example, one that was an absolute rager during my schoolies week ( but that’s a story for another time)

b) Martin Garrix’s ‘Animals’.

EVEN LESS emotive, expressive and empathetic language then the previous one.

the entire lyrical analysis of the song can be summarised in four words.

‘ We’re the–F%$#$%# Animals’  x4

I’m not even joking.

http://www.lyricsmania.com/animals_lyrics_martin_garrix.html

I’ve gone into the liberty of finding the actual layout of the song ‘Animals’ to show you the beat at each interval.

Check out the song below; pay special attention to the area circled in yellow.

beats

Nothing too exciting right?

Well, compare this to a standard 3 lead ECG trace. ( heart rate monitor)

Coincidence?

Now how is it; that this song alone, from a DJ that’s the same age as myself.  Has more hits than the most successful and influential song  of the 80’s band Queen?

Vs..

Perhaps it is psychology, or perhaps it is preference.

There’s an excellent article on the psychology of music here>>> http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/uoc-tma101513.php

But, It is in my belief that whilst any music can be influential, a lot of it has to do with the subconscious mind.