Tips for making spicy roasted chickpeas, a trendy and tasty snack

Odd couplings using savory and spicy flavors in unexpected places are trendy these days, from pairing sea salt with chocolate and caramel, to sriracha-flavored popcorn and almonds. Dried legumes eaten as snacks is also trending, although the idea has deep Mediterranean roots, particularly for chickpeas.

Roasted ChickpeasI first encountered the surprise of roasted chickpeas for munching at a Middle Eastern grocery store on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1970s, a gang of us – single and adventurous – were regulars at the Lebanese, Yemeni and Turkish restaurants lining Atlantic Avenue. After feasting on grilled kebabs, baba ganoush and warm pita, exotic eating at that time, we wandered into one of the neighboring food stores, drawn by the fragrant aroma of cumin and coffee beans wafting from its narrow aisles lined with bins and barrels. Continue reading

Massive new study, activity cuts risk of 13 cancers

A large new study that pooled together data from a dozen studies found that those who walk, swim, jog or do other sorts of activity the most are at lower risk of developing 13 different types of cancer compared to those who are the least active. The study included almost 1.5 million participants and supports the importance of physical activity for lower cancer risk.

It was published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Activity MashupAICR research shows that activity lowers risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. There is some evidence being active may play a role in other cancers, but many of these studies are relatively small; AICR continues to analyze the research – including this study – as part of its Continuous Update Project.

The strength of this study was that it could pool together cancers that are not as common. Here, researchers included 12 population studies from the United States and Europe to look at how physical activity links to 26 cancer types. All together, the studies included 1.4 million men and women, ages 18 to 98. The average age was 59. Continue reading

White House focuses on microbiome, the trillions of microbes that link to cancer risk

The bacteria and other microbes living inside us will soon get a much closer look, with the White House announcing a major new initiative today that promises to speed up our understanding of how the trillions of microorganisms play a role in diseases, such as cancer.

The National Microbiome Initiative is a collaboration of government and private industry and it has a broad aim to understand the microorganism communities on Earth and beyond. These communities include bacteria, viruses and fungi. As part of the Initiative the government pledged to support more than $121 million over the next couple years to research. That includes everything from investigating microbes’ role in land, sea, and space. It also involves looking at microbes in animals, including us humans.

1214977_sA lot of the microbiome research already involves human health. Largely ignored until recently, scientists now know that our skin, mouth, gut and almost every part of our body is teeming with microbes that we depend upon for good health. Whether these microbes outnumber human cells ten to one or they’re about even, we know there are trillions of them. And that they are important. Continue reading