Ideal Snacks For Each Wine Colour

Wine makers have created a new guide to help people choose the perfect drink to have with their favourite snacks, including pizza, Scotch eggs – and even salt and vinegar crisps.

Experts at Jacob’s Creek tried different types of wine with 10 of the nation’s most popular snacks and light bites to open up the world of wine pairing and compile a new guide – with Riesling being the perfect wine to have with a sausage roll.

A margherita pizza should be enjoyed with a Shiraz, nachos go with a Pinot Grigio while a Chardonnay is the ideal companion for wasabi peas or pittas and hummus.

For the sweet tooth, chocolate and Merlot are a match made in heaven, with Sauvignon Blanc found to be the perfect pairing for salted popcorn.

TV cook and author, Jo Pratt, who took part in the tasting session with Jacob’s Creek wine maker Rebekah Richardson, said:

“There are plenty of guidelines out there about the best wines to drink with main meals but there isn’t really any inspiration for which wines to enjoy with smaller plates or snacks.

“So it’s brilliant to know you can now enjoy a delicious wine that perfectly complements the flavours of whatever you’re eating.

“Whether that’s a Sunday roast with all the family, or a well-deserved treat just for you, and wasabi peas and Chardonnay was a real eye opener!”

Experts at the Australian winery put together the new wine matching guide after a survey of 2,000 adults revealed 57 per cent are regularly replacing evening weekday meals with snacks, such as pizza (59%), nachos (38%) and pittas and dips (33%).

And more than half (51%) said they would like to know more about the wines that go with the foods they regularly eat.

Seventy-one per cent also admitted they felt there is too much snobbery associated with wine selection.

In order to decide on the perfect pairings, 11 types of wine were tried with each of the different foods, with Jo and Rebekah smelling and tasting the food and the drink before pairing them up from a total of 110 possible combinations.

They found sausage rolls are paired perfectly with the Riesling due to the ‘buttery pastry and rich pork balancing the lime and green apple flavours of the wine’.

For pizza, the toppings make a difference to the choice of wine, with a Margherita matched with Shiraz, thanks to its ‘spicy fruit flavours standing up well’ to the herbs, tomato sauce and cheese topping.

But if you opt for a pepperoni pizza, you should serve it with a Cabernet Sauvignon thanks to the ‘meaty wine going great with the aniseed kick of the pepperoni’.

Chardonnay works with wasabi peas due to the ‘creaminess of the wine taking the heat out of the horseradish’ with toasted pittas and hummus going nicely with the same wine because of the ‘peach and melon notes complimenting the nutty flavours of the chickpeas’.

For Scotch eggs, a Fiano complimented the flavours well and for salt and vinegar crisps, a Shiraz Rose was found to be the best match.

Jacob’s Creeks’ Rebekah Richardson added:

“Whatever the dish you’re cooking, wherever you are in the world, it’s not hard to find a recommendation for the best wine to pair it with.

“We’re passionate about making quality wines that are great for sharing with good friends and family, and we wanted to celebrate those authentic moments when people are together enjoying a glass of wine with a snack as well.

“This guide helps people make the most of that time, with a glass of wine that tastes amazing with their favourite treat.

“Britons told us they wanted to know about the best wines to go with snacks like wasabi peas, popcorn and chocolate as well as old favourites like pizza.

“And, this new take on wine pairings is the perfect solution.”

Jacobs Creek Wine WheelWine and snack matches:

*Pizza: Margherita: Wine match – Jacob’s Creek Classic Shiraz

Why it works? Spicy fruit flavours with plum and pepper can stand up to the strong aromatic herbs, tangy tomato sauce and salty cheese that makes a perfect Margherita pizza

*Pizza: Pepperoni – Wine match – Jacob’s Creek Classic Cabernet Sauvignon

Why it works? The cabernet sauvignon, rich in blackcurrent and plum, is a meaty wine great with the aniseed spice kick of the pepperoni. The hint of oak provides a dryness that helps balance out the richness of the cheese and oil from the sausage.

*Sausage Roll: Wine match – Jacob’s Creek Classic Riesling

Why it works. The butteriness in the pastry and the richness of the pork is great with the slight acid from lime and green apple in the Riseling.

*Nachos with Guacamole, sour cream and salsa: Wine match – Jacob’s Creek Classic Pinot Grigio

Why it works? From the tangy kick from the salsa to the creaminess of sour cream there’s a lot going on in a plate of nachos so Pinot Grigio is a subtle wine which can get along with a mix of flavours.

*Toasted pitta and Houmous: Wine match – Chardonnay

Why it works: Fruit flavours of peach and melon, coupled with a subtle touch of oak flavours complements the nutty nature of the chickpeas.

*Sea salt and balsamic vinegar crisps: Wine match – Shiraz Rose

Why it works: The fresh raspberry and cherry flavours and the hints of spice in the wine work well with the sharpness of the vinegar

*Wasabi peas: Wine match – Chardonnay

Why it works: The creaminess of the wine takes the heat out of the horseradish in the peas.

*Chocolate: Wine match – Merlot

Why it works: The softness of the tannins and slight sweet fruit in the back matches really nicely with rich chocolate

*Salted Popcorn: Wine match – Sauvignon Blanc

Why it works: The slightly herbaceous, grassy flavours of the SB, match the salty flavours of the pork scratchings

*Gourmet Scotch egg: Wine match – Fiano

Why it works: The fresh flavours of lemongrass and apricot balance well with the hearty and meaty texture of the Scotch egg.

The Everyday Foods That Reduce Social Anxiety

People who are particularly neurotic may benefit from this group of common foods — plus exercise.

People who eat more fermented foods have lower social anxiety, a new study finds. The benefit is particularly noticeable among people who are highly neurotic. Neurotic people are prone to anxiety.

Foods That Reduce Social Anxiety

Fermented foods that are a regular part of the Western diet include milk, cheese, yoghurt and bread. They typically contain probiotics, which are likely behind the benefit.

Professor Matthew Hilimire, one of the study’s authors, said:

“It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety.

I think that it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.”

The study asked around 700 young adults to keep track of what they ate over a month.

The researchers controlled for how much exercise people did and how healthily they ate.

Dr DeVylder explained the results:

“The main finding was that individuals who had consumed more fermented foods had reduced social anxiety but that was qualified by an interaction by neuroticism.

What that means is that that relationship was strongest amongst people that were high in neuroticism.”

The study also found that the more exercise people did, the lower their social anxiety. The researchers are planning an experiment to back up the results of this survey.

Dr DeVylder said:

“However, if we rely on the animal models that have come before us and the human experimental work that has come before us in other anxiety and depression studies, it does seem that there is a causative mechanism.

Assuming similar findings in the experimental follow-up, what it would suggest is that you could augment more traditional therapies (like medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two) with fermented foods — dietary changes — and exercise, as well.

Dr Jordan DeVylder, another of the study’s authors, said:

“This study shows that young adults who are prone towards anxiety report less social anxiety if they frequently consume fermented foods with probiotics.

These initial results highlight the possibility that social anxiety may be alleviated through low-risk nutritional interventions, although further research is needed to determine whether increasing probiotic consumption directly causes a reduction in social anxiety.”

The study is to be published in the journal Psychiatry Research (Hilimire et al., 2015)

How Depression Is Linked to Intestinal Bacteria

Link between the gut and low mood found in study of mice.

Bacteria in the intestine can play an important role in causing anxiety and depression, new research concludes.

It helps explain recent research suggesting probiotics can stop sad moods getting worse and explain how depression is linked to intestinal bacteria.

Probiotics may work to help stabilise the bacteria in the gut.

Another recent study also found probiotics may reduce anxiety. The new conclusions come from a study of mice which were exposed to stress early in life.

Dr Premysl Bercik, one of the study’s authors, said:

“We have shown for the first time in an established mouse model of anxiety and depression that bacteria play a crucial role in inducing this abnormal behaviour.

But it’s not only bacteria, it’s the altered bi-directional communication between the stressed host — mice subjected to early life stress — and its microbiota, that leads to anxiety and depression.”

In other words, anxiety and depression result from stress early in life plus microbial factors.

Early life stress on its own was not enough to cause the mice to behave anxiously, the study found. Similarly, the bacteria in the gut on their own do not seem to cause depression and anxiety.

Dr Bercik explained how they reached this conclusion:

“….if we transfer the bacteria from stressed mice into non stressed germ-free mice, no abnormalities are observed.

This suggests that in this model, both host and microbial factors are required for the development of anxiety and depression-like behavior.

Neonatal stress leads to increased stress reactivity and gut dysfunction that changes the gut microbiota which, in turn, alters brain function.”

Naturally, as the study was carried out on mice, it will have to confirmed in humans. Dr Bercik said:

“We are starting to explain the complex mechanisms of interaction and dynamics between the gut microbiota and its host.

Our data show that relatively minor changes in microbiota profiles or its metabolic activity induced by neonatal stress can have profound effects on host behaviour in adulthood.

It would be important to determine whether this also applies to humans.

For instance, whether we can detect abnormal microbiota profiles or different microbial metabolic activity in patients with primary psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and depression,”

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications (De Palma et al., 2015).

Poached Salmon and Watercress Salad with Dill-Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients
(Serves 4)

1 celery stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions (greens sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, whites left whole)
1 lemon, halved: cut half into slices, zest and juice remaining half (1/2 teaspoon zest, 1 tablespoon juice),
1 teaspoon kosher salt,
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned (about 2 inches thick)
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus 1/2 cup fronds, divided 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches watercress, thick stems removed (about 8 cups)
1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced crosswise (3 ounces)
1 small bunch radishes, sliced (1 1/2 cups)

Preparation
1. Fill a high-sided skillet or large pot with 6 cups water; add celery, scallion whites, and lemon slices to pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer. Cook until fragrant (8-10 minutes). Add salmon (water should just cover fillets) to pot; cover and gently simmer until fish is opaque (5-8 minutes). With tongs or a fish spatula, remove salmon from broth; set aside on a cutting board to cool.

2. While fish is poaching, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, chopped dill, horseradish, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, whisking well. Arrange watercress, snap peas, radishes, and dill fronds on 4 plates; top with salmon, and sprinkle with scallion greens. Drizzle with dressing; serve.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups salad, 6 ounces salmon, and 2 tablespoons dressing)


Nutritional Information
Calories per serving:    357
Fat per serving:    16g
Saturated fat per serving:    3g
Monounsaturated fat serving:    7g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving:    5g
Protein per serving:    43g
Carbohydrates per serving:  9g
Fiber per serving:    3g
Cholesterol per serving:    109mg
Iron per serving:    3mg
Sodium per serving:    432mg
Calcium per serving:    206mg

This Is Your Brain On Fried Eggs

Brain, motivation and eating a high-fat diet

Eating a diet high in fat can cause impairments in the functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system, according to Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal and the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM.)

This system is a critical brain pathway controlling motivation. Fulton’s findings, published today in Neuropsychopharmacology, may have great health implications:

“Our research shows that independent of weight gain and obesity, high-fat feeding can cause impairments in the functioning of the brain circuitry profoundly implicated in mood disorders, drug addiction, and overeating — several states and pathologies that impinge on motivation and hedonia.”

Hedonia relates to a mental state of wellbeing.

“Another key finding is that the effects of prolonged high-fat feeding to dampen the sensitivity of this brain reward system are specific to saturated fats — palm oil used in this study — but not monounsaturated fat such as the olive oil used in this study.”

The research team obtained these findings by working with three groups of rats. The first group of rats was the control group: they were given a low-fat diet containing roughly equal amounts of monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The second group was given a monounsaturated high fat diet, of which 50% of the calories were from fat derived from olive oil. The third group was given a saturated high fat diet — again, 50% of the calories were from fat, but this time derived from palm oil. The high-fat diets were all the same in terms of sugars, proteins, fat content and caloric density, and the animals were free to eat as much or as little as they liked.

After eight weeks, all of the rats still had comparable body weights and levels of insulin, leptin (which are major metabolic hormones) and relative glycemia.

At this time, the rats underwent a series of behavioural and biochemical tests known to be indicative of the functioning of rats’ dopamine system.

“We established that the rats on the palm diet had a significantly blunted dopamine function.

“Our research group and others hypothesize that this leads the brain to try to compensate by heightening reward-seeking behaviour, much like the phenomenon of drug tolerance where one has to increase the drug dose over time to get the same high. So, a person consuming too much saturated fat may then compensate a reduced reward experience by seeking out and consuming more high-fat and high-sugar foods to get the same level of pleasure or reward.”

Fulton’s study is the first of its kind to show that, regardless of weight changes, unrestrained intake of saturated fats can have negative effects on the controls of motivation by the brain. Fulton said:

“As we were able to control for changes in body weight, hormones and glucose levels, we think that the fats may be affecting the dopamine system by a direct action in the brain. We in fact have separate evidence that brain inflammation could be involved in this process, as it is evoked by saturated high-fat feeding, which will be presented in a future publication.”

These Dietary Changes Reduce Diabetes Risk

Type 2 diabetes risk can be reduced by adjusting the dietary intake of certain foods.

Dietary fibre — especially from cereal and vegetable sources — can reduce diabetes risk, a new study finds. Diabetes is a serious health condition which affects over 360 million people in the world.

It is estimated that by 2030 more than 550 million people worldwide will suffer from diabetes. Previous studies have reported possible benefits of dietary fibre to reduce diabetes risk. But, until now, the exact type of fibre had not been evaluated.

In the study participants were divided into four groups: from lowest to highest fibre intake. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes over 11 years was assessed. Participants consuming 19g, or less, of fibre had an 18% higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those consuming over 26g per day.

Cereal and vegetable sources of fibre had the most impact on reducing diabetes. But fruit fibre didn’t have any effect on reducing the risk of diabetes. The study also found that dietary fibre can help people maintain a healthy weight.

This in turn also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Mr Dagfinn Aune the co-author of this study said:

“Taken together, our results indicate that individuals with diets rich in fiber, in particular cereal fiber, may be at lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

We are not certain why this might be, but potential mechanisms could include feeling physically full for longer, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine.

All these mechanisms could lead to a lower BMI and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

As well as helping keep weight down, dietary fiber may also affect diabetes risk by other mechanisms — for instance improving control of blood sugar and decreasing insulin peaks after meals, and increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin.”

This research was published in the journal Diabetologia (The InterAct Consortium, 2015).

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

How processed foods change the brain’s ability to recognize fullness.

Eating high-fat, processed foods may stop the brain sensing fullness, leading to overeating, a new animal study reports.

The research was conducted at the University of Georgia, Washington State University and Binghamton University (Cooper et al., 2015).

They switched rats’ normal diet to a high fat diet and found that the new diet changes the populations of bacteria living in the gut and alters the signalling to the brain.

Consequently, the body doesn’t feel full and wants more food, which leads to obesity. Dr Krzysztof Czaja, the principal investigator on the study, explained:

“When we switch the rats to a high fat diet, it reorganizes brain circuits. The brain is changed by eating unbalanced foods. It induces inflammation in the brain regions responsible for feeding behavior. Those reorganized circuits and inflammation may alter satiety signalling.”

After a switch to an unbalanced diet, microbiota in the gut will change. Dr. Czaja said:

“In the regular physiological state, many different strains of bacteria live in a balanced environment in the intestinal tract. They don’t overpopulate. There are little shifts, but in general this population is quite stable.

When we start feeding the rats a different diet, there is an immediate effect. Suddenly, different nutrients are changing the micro-environment in the gut and some bacteria begin to overpopulate.

Some sensitive bacteria begin to die and some populations may even vanish. So, introducing a significant change in the gut micro-environment triggers a cascade of events that leads to this population switch.”

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

These changes lead to gut-brain miscommunication which happens when nerve cells that carry signals from the gut to the brain are inflamed and damaged.

Whether or not the change is reversible or permanent is a question that Dr Czaja and his colleagues will address in the future.

The body is accustomed to foods sourced naturally and so highly processed and artificial foods are new to our bodies.

This research shows how the introduction of modified foods high in fat and sugar can disturb intestinal microbiota and gut-brain communication which can result in obesity.

For a healthy body and mind

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