Friday, November 07, 2003

Eclipse Sat eve will be partial at Ed's place, will not rise above local hill till 6:00pm. The moon will be one-quarter out of the umbra, 13 degrees high, at azimuth 79 degrees.
This is the very last total eclipse of Saros 126. This series produced thirteen total lunar eclipses during the past 234 years
Saros - a period of 223 lunations or synodic months (6585.3216 days or 18.03 years). Eclipses separated by one saros share nearly identical characteristics.
Smart and Final dosen't carry plain applesauce or almonds.
Bank said to come back Dec 18 or the week after for my money.
My list of "most viewed"

Sun White Light - large
Sun UV

CAM Mt. Wilson 150 Foot Towercam
CAM Griffith Observatory

Weather - 1 km Visible Animation

from Forecasts for Southwestern California at

Weather Underground: Burbank, California Forecast 5 day-- moon rise/set

ASTROMART Classifieds

ASTRO NEWS - Arkansas Sky Observatory

Sky and Telescope - News
Comet Observation Home Page
Space Calendar (JPL):
JPL Lectures

Spaceflight Now - Worldwide launch schedule

SKY & Iridium Satellite Visibility - Ed's Place

Yahoo! Groups (all)
Today, I will go to Smart and Final, get tomato juce and apple sauce, then to the library to get a new card. Will order Telescope Optics by: Rutten and Van Venrooij published by Willmen Bell, 1988
Next to bank and get some play money so I can show Elaine a good time. The bank wants to hear from me.
Von's is next to the bank, so will see what they have.
On 11/6/03, I found the following things about cooking. Much needs to be found about how cooking affects food. ---

Veggies Lose Antioxidants in the Microwave
Blanching and freezing also robs them, study finds

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDayNews) -- Getting the necessary nutrients from vegetables may be even harder than you thought.

New research shows that different ways of preparing, storing and processing vegetables can affect how good they are for you.

Broccoli, for instance, can lose as much as 97 percent of some antioxidants, or cancer-fighting compounds, when it is zapped in the microwave.

Vegetables that are blanched before freezing (a common processing technique) can lose up to one third of their antioxidants. Frozen storage can also cause losses, albeit much smaller ones.

Two studies detailing these findings appear in the November issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Antioxidants are plentiful in vegetables and work to eliminate free radicals, which can damage cell DNA and contribute to various diseases. That's why eating fiber, fruits, and vegetables, all of which contain antioxidants, can help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.

As it turns out, though, that protective effect is most pronounced when the vegetable is in its natural state.

The first study found that the simplest cooking method was also the worst when it came to preserving nutrients. Broccoli lost 97 percent of flavonoids, 74 percent of sinapics and 87 percent of caffeoyl-quinic derivatives (three different types of antioxidants) when it was microwaved.

When boiled the conventional way (i.e., not in a pressure-cooker), this green lost 66 percent of its flavonoids; when tossed in a pressure cooker, broccoli lost 47 percent of its caffeoyl-quinic acid derivatives.

Steamed broccoli, on the other hand, lost only 11 percent, 0 percent and 8 percent, respectively, of flavonoids, sinapics, and caffeoyl-quinic derivatives.

The advantage of steaming vs. conventional boiling is that you're "not using water directly in contact with the vegetable. The nutritional compounds don't go into the water," says Cristina Garcia-Viguera, lead author of this paper. "Once the compounds are in the water, the temperature destroys them much easier."

A microwave wreaks havoc because it heats the inside of the vegetable. That, combined with the fact that you normally use water when microwaving, causes the destruction of valuable nutrients.

Even reheating steamed broccoli in a microwave would probably have the same effect, Garcia-Viguera says, although she did not specifically examine this in her research.

The findings can probably be extrapolated to many other vegetables but, again, the researchers did not specifically address this.

The second study looked at the effects of blanching and freezing and of long-term freezer storage on more than 20 common vegetables. As it turned out, different species showed different effects from these processing techniques.

In general, dietary fiber components were not affected or even went up slightly. Mineral content, also, tended to remain stable.

On the other hand, antioxidant activity went down 20 percent to 30 percent during blanching.

Carrots, peas, and broccoli lost 30 percent of their vitamin C during blanching/freezing, while green beans lost 10 percent and spinach lost 40 percent (with an additional 30 percent lost during deep frozen storage).

Spinach also lost almost 40 percent of its potassium and 70 percent of its folic acid during blanching.

Don't despair just yet, says Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center in New York City.

The use of these vegetables in the studies meant they were nutritious in the first place, she says. "Then I'm still reaping the benefits even if they're losing some of their qualitative values," she says.

Moreover, Heller points out, not all of the healthy properties of vegetables are being eliminated. "You're still getting plenty of healthy compounds as well as fiber, so there's absolutely no reason not to eat vegetables -- although, of course, the fresher the better," she says.

"If people are willing to have vegetables anyway, shape or form, even if they are going to nuke then, I'd rather have them do that," she adds.

More information

For more on eating enough fruits and vegetables, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Dietetic Association has a series of nutrition fact sheets.

What goes on when you microwave food? Read about it at HowStuffWorks.

SOURCES: Cristina Garcia-Viguera, Ph.D., department of food science and technology, CEBAS-CSIC, Murcia, Spain; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist, New York University Medical Center, New York; November 2003 Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

Copyright © 2003 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.


Bake, fry or boil: which is best?
By Alice Hart-Davis, Evening Standard

You may pick out healthy food in the shops but the method you choose to cook it could rid it of all its goodness. Alice Hart-Davis asks the experts for their top tips on how to get the most from your food.

Baking: Wrapping fish in foil and baking it is a good way to cook it - as long as the oven isn't too hot. "High temperatures alter the biochemical structure of the essential fats in the fish," warns nutritionist Ian Marber. "Cook fish at a lower temperature, but for longer."

Baking is also a good way to cook potatoes, says Frankie Phillips, nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, because people usually eat the skin, which is rich in fibre and helps the cooked potatoes retain their vitamin C content.

Boiling: "Cut vegetables into larger pieces," says nutritionist Alison Loftus, "as it reduces the surface area through which water-soluble vitamins such as B and C can leach out. Boil them for as short a time as possible, and don't keep them hot for hours as prolonged heating destroys folates, which have an important role in preventing heart disease."

Steaming: "The preferred way to cook vegetables," says Marber. "You lose fewer nutrients and retain fibre, which is crucial for clearing excess toxins and cholesterol from the body and for keeping your bowels moving."

Frying: Frying results in fatty food which is high in calories and not a good thing. Then there's the question of what you fry things in.

"When you heat oils to high temperatures, their chemical structure gets deformed," says Loftus. "It used to be thought that olive oil didn't deform in the way that unsaturated fats such as sesame seed oil or sunflower oil did, but it does, which encourages free radical damage in the body and can cause premature ageing."

Perversely, butter or unrefined coconut oil is a better option for frying, even though they are saturated fats which we have been taught to avoid hitherto.

Deep frying: This method adds fat to food, and causes the formation of acrylamide particles, though more research is needed on quite what these do to the body. On the plus side, says Phillips, if the oil is sufficiently hot, thick-cut deep-fried chips will retain a good proportion of their vitamin C, because the cooking method seals the surfaces fast.

Roasting: A simple and effective way to cook meat and vegetables such as peppers, onions and aubergines. But be careful not to burn the food, advises Marber, as it is all too easy for food to end up charred or singed at the edges.

"Anything burnt is carcinogenic," he points out. "Burnt particles of food give rise to free radicals in the body, more than are matched by the amount of antioxidants contained in the vegetables you are eating."

Grilling: "It's a good way to cook many foods because you're not adding fat," says Phillips. "As long as you don't burn the food," adds Marber. "The trouble is, we like to cook things until they are brown, at which point they will be close to charring."

Microwaving: "Don't lose your perspective," says Marber. "In nutrition, everything is a question of balance. Yes, microwaving affects the nutritional content of vegetables, but if you only cook them until they are crisp, they will still retain their fibre content." And, as Phillips points out, if the convenience factor of microwaving means that it encourages people to eat vegetables that they otherwise wouldn't eat, then that is a good thing.

• Ian Marber, The Food Doctor (020 7792 6700; Alison Loftus, Hale Clinic (0870 167 6667). British Nutrition Foundation (020 7404 6504;


Is Cooking Hazardous to Health?

by Ben Best

Most scientific papers addressing the subject of the health hazards of cooking focus on carcinogens in cooked meat. One exception [BULLETIN OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND TOXICOLOGY 53:259-266 (1994)] describes the leaching of Fe, Cr & Ni into food which has been cooked in stainless steel. In THE 120-YEAR DIET Roy Walford mentions toxic agents created from cooking egg yolks. There are undoubtedly many peroxidized lipids produced from cooking of unsaturated fats which are harmful in ways other than by carcinogenesis, but since I have not located literature on the subject this essay will focus on mutagens.

The most mutagenic known agents in cooking are heterocyclic amines, found in "well-cooked" beef, pork, chicken and fish muscle (typically cooked at temperatures just above 200ºC). Mutagens are also found in "barbacued samples, cooked at higher temperatures over an open flame". The nature of these substances are mostly undetermined, but it is known that they are not heterocyclic amines. [FOOD AND CHEMICAL TOXICOLOGY 32 (7):595-603 (1994)].

Concerning cooking methods, one paper states that "The relative mutagen activity of cooking processes with muscle meats show that frying, broiling and barbecuing produce more mutagenic activity and HAs [Heterocyclic Amines], where analyzed, and that stewing, steaming and poaching show little or no mutagenic activity...Microwave cooked meats are generally low in mutagenic activity, but a study by Barrington et. al. (11) generated appreciable mutagenic activity in sirloin steak." [CARCINOGENS 16(1): 39-52 (1995)].

Gas flames generate NO2, which can result in high levels of carcinogenic nitrosamines & nitropyrenes in foods cooked in gas ovens [CANCER LETTERS 25:239 (1985) and MUTATION RESEARCH 171:105 (1986)]. The inhaling of air in kitchens using gas-cooking may lead to the presence of dimethylnitrosamine in human urine [CANCER RESEARCH 46:5392 (1986)].

One thoroughly-referenced review (about 150 references) -- "Cooking Procedures and Food Mutagens: A Literature Review" [FOOD AND CHEMICAL TOXICOLOGY 31(9):655-675 (1993)] -- also focuses on the mutagenicity of cooked meats due to heterocyclic amines. Non-enzymatic glycosylation is a mechanism of aging, but it is evidently also a mechanism for the creation of mutagenic heterocyclic amines in cooked meats.

The necessary mutagenic ingredients are: high temperature of extended duration, free amino acids, creatine (or creatinine) and sugar. The creatinine, glycogen and free amino acids in meat cause the sugar to catalyze the cross-linking of the free amino acids to form the heterocyclic amines (a Maillard reaction). Few mutagens were formed if glucose was not present and "Bovine liver and kidney contained low concentrations of creatine and shared no mutagenic activity after frying". Moreover, in the cooking of "other protein-rich foods such as cheese, tofu, beans, shrimp and tissue from inner organs, the mutagenic activity was negligible." In model systems where there was protein without free amino acids, "no mutagenic activity was detected". ("Mutagenic activity" nowadays is usually detected by bacterial assays -- the Ames test.)

Concerning temperature and duration, "Domestic frying and broiling are usually performed at temperatures between 150ºC and 200ºC for 5-15 minutes, oven roasting often takes place at 125-200ºC for 30-60 minutes, whereas stewing and microwave cooking involve temperatures in the range of 100ºC to 150ºC. However, most frying and broiling experiments cited in the literature have been performed at temperatures of 200ºC or above.

"In model systems also, the mutagenic activity is related to the temperature in the range of 150ºC to 200ºC. When a mixture of glycine, creatine and glucose was heated at 140ºC for 15 minutes, no significant mutagenic activity was produced, but at 160ºC and 180ºC, mutagenic activity was detected."

I conclude from the above that microwave cooking is one of the safest ways to cook. This is in agreement with my intuitive sense that heat that penetrates somewhat uniformly is far less damaging than high temperature applied to the surface of food in order to cook the inside in an acceptable time-frame. Cooking with fats, of course, results in the production of free radicals & other carcinogens.

I try to keep my cooking to a minimum. The most practical use of cooking is to kill microorganisms in meat to make it safe to eat. I only eat meat occasionally -- meat contains too many pesticides and too much saturated fat which elevates LDL cholesterol (increasing vulnerability to cardiovascular disease.) Otherwise, cooking simply reduces the nutritional content of foods while making food more palatable. For a person seeking to practice CRAN (Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition) -- or anyone wanting to keep weight down -- food is already too appetizing.

I believe that adequate nutrition can be achieved without cooking or meat. A diet containing lots of fresh fruits & vegetables that includes low-fat dairy products & nutritional supplements (including essential fatty acids and whey protein) will supply ample nutrition without the time-wasting cooking and high level of pesticides & saturated fats.