Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So hamburgers are OK now?

A lot of health freaks are going to be chomping angrily into their nutburgers over this

Not one to ignore the family need for burgers, Michelle Obama brought Malia and Sasha to lunch at Good Stuff Eatery on Thursday.

Patrons dining at the outdoor tables realized right away what was happening, said Felice Robinson, administrative coordinator for Good Stuff Eatery (303 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E). "How are you gonna miss the Secret Service?" she said.

The patrons outside saw the Obama girls getting out of the van and were immediately thrilled, whipping out their cell-phone cameras to get photos. "People were really happy to get a shot, and especially to see the girls," said Robinson. "Michelle has been here before, but this was the girls' first visit."

The First Family (sans Dad) ordered a Farmhouse Cheeseburger, Colleti's Smokehouse Burger and -- of course -- the new President Obama burger, topped with horseradish mayo, red onion marmalade, crumbled blue cheese and bacon.

Several members of Michelle Obama's staff joined them for lunch (and milkshakes!) at a 10-person table.


Beetroot eases pain of red-faced runners

POUNDING the streets for hours every day in preparation for a marathon? Sit down and drink some beetroot juice instead. Drinking a glass has been found to boost stamina, allowing people to endure strenuous physical exercise for longer.

Research shows that the nitrate in beetroot juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, slowing the rate at which a person becomes exhausted. Those drinking the juice can exercise for 16 per cent longer.

The scientists behind the study said that the reduction in oxygen use was greater than that achieved by any other known means, including training. The findings could be of interest to endurance athletes, elderly people or those with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic diseases, they added.

But there is a side-effect, albeit harmless. Drinking beetroot juice can lead to beeturia, when urine turns pink or red because of acidity levels in the stomach.

The research team, led by the University of Exeter, conducted the study with eight men aged 19 to 38. They were given 500ml a day of organic beetroot juice for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests, involving cycling on an exercise bike. On another occasion, they were given a placebo of blackcurrant cordial for six consecutive days before completing the same cycling tests. After drinking beetroot juice the group was able to cycle for an average of 11 minutes, 25 seconds - 92 seconds longer than when using the placebo. This translates into a 2 per cent reduction in the time taken to cover a set distance. The group that consumed the beetroot juice also had lower resting blood pressure.

The researchers are not sure of the mechanism that causes the nitrate in the beetroot juice to boost stamina. However, they suspect that it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise. Nitrate is high in other foods, such as lettuce, but can be introduced in larger quantities because beetroot can be juiced, the researchers said.

The study follows research by Barts and the London School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, published last year, which found that beetroot juice reduced blood pressure. The researchers found that in healthy volunteers blood pressure was reduced within an hour of drinking.

The latest research was carried out by the University of Exeter and Peninsula Medical School and published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The team hopes to conduct further studies to try to understand in more detail the effects of nitrate-rich foods on exercise physiology.

Professor Andy Jones, lead researcher from the University of Exeter School of Sport and Health Sciences, said the work showed that nitrate-rich food could increase endurance.

"We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice on oxygen uptake because these effects cannot be achieved by any other known means, including training," he said. "I am sure professional and amateur athletes will be interested in the results."

Experts welcomed the findings but cautioned that both studies to date had been small and called for trials on a larger scale, including research into long-term benefits or potentially harmful effects.


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