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Food and Beverage

Proven for the first time: The microbiome of fruit and vegetables positively influences diversity in the gut

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Newswise — Bacterial diversity in the gut plays an important role in human health. The crucial question, however, is where are the sources of this diversity? It is known that an important part of the maternal microbiome is transferred to the baby at birth, and the same happens during the breastfeeding period via breast milk. Further sources were yet to be discovered. However, a team led by Wisnu Adi Wicaksono and Gabriele Berg from the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) has now succeeded in proving that plant microorganisms from fruit and vegetables contribute to the human microbiome. They report this in a study published in the journal Gut Microbes.

You are what you eat

The authors were able to demonstrate that the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption and the variety of plants consumed influences the amount of fruit- and vegetable-associated bacteria in the human gut. Early childhood in particular represents a window of opportunity for colonisation with plant-associated bacteria. It was also demonstrated that the microorganisms of plant origin have probiotic and health-promoting properties.

A microbiome is the totality of all microorganisms that colonise a macroorganism (human, animal, plant) or a part of it, for example the intestine or a fruit. While the individual microbiomes are becoming better understood, little is known about their connections. “The proof that microorganisms from fruits and vegetables can colonise the human gut has now been established for the first time,” explains first author Wisnu Adi Wicaksono. This suggests that the consumption of fruit and vegetables, especially in infancy, has a positive influence on the development of the immune system in the first three or so years of life, as the intestinal microbiome develops during this time. But even after that, a good diversity of gut bacteria is beneficial for health and resilience. “It simply influences everything. Diversity influences the resilience of the whole organism; higher diversity conveys more resilience,” says Institute head Gabriele Berg.

Several billion sequences

In order to be able to determine that the consumption of fruits and vegetables and their microbiomes actually leads to changes in the intestinal microbiome, the team first created a catalogue of microbiome data from fruits and vegetables which enabled them to assign their bacteria. They compared these with publicly available data from two studies on intestinal flora. The TEDDY project looked at the development of babies in a long-term study and the American Gut Project studied the intestinal microbiome of adults – both projects also collected data on the food intake of the test persons. In total, the researchers had metagenome data from around 2500 stool samples at their disposal, each of which contained between one and ten million sequences – several billion sequences were thus evaluated. Using this extensive data set, the presence of fruit and vegetable microflora in the gut could be demonstrated. This evidence is a crucial building block in proving the WHO’s One Health concept, which closely links human, animal and environmental health.

Follow-up study on three continents

To further explore this connection, together with international colleagues and within the EU-funded HEDIMED project (www.hedimed.eu) Gabriele Berg at the Institute of Environmental Biotechnology is already working on an intervention study in which people on three continents eat exactly the same things for a certain period of time, following which their excretions are analysed. But even beyond that, Gabriele Berg sees many areas that could be influenced on the basis of the study’s findings. This starts with food production, as soil, fertiliser and pesticides affect the plant microbiome. “Fresh fruit and vegetables will always have the best microbiome; agriculture or processing companies already have a major influence here. And the storage and processing of food must also be critically reconsidered,” explains Berg. Depending on the findings of the planned study, there could also be exciting applications for individuals. “Every fruit and vegetable has a unique microbiome. So maybe at some point a personalised diet can be put together based on that.”

This research is anchored in the Field of Expertise “Human & Biotechnology“, one of five strategic foci of TU Graz.

Journal Link: Gut Microbes

Source: Graz University of Technology

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Family

Get Creative with Easter Sweets

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Kid-friendly crafts that bring loved ones together

(Family Features) Holiday hams and deviled eggs may take center stage at Easter gatherings, but edible crafts offer a reminder of the magic of the season that’s found in moments spent together. Simple recipes that call for a dose of creativity are perfect ways to bring the kids to the kitchen, made even easier when all that work leads to sweet treats.

While plastic eggs may have led to a decline in good, old-fashioned egg-dyeing, there are still fun ways to bring crafts back to Easter celebrations. Consider these Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops, which call for little ones to help dip seasonal shapes in chocolate, use cake molds and more.

Children of virtually any age can relish in the joys of using cookie cutters and decorating Easter Sugar Cookies, all with a little supervision and short list of instructions. This version shows how to make the cookies and homemade icing so you can create any color you desire for maximum creativity.

Remember, these delicious crafts don’t have to be perfect – having fun and making memories that last a lifetime are what make Easter truly special.

Visit Culinary.net to find more Easter inspiration and recipes from “Cookin’ Savvy.”

Kids Krafty Easter Cake Pops

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 can frosting
  • 1 bunny chocolate mold
  • 1 cakesicle mold
  • ice pop sticks
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips or melting chips
  • cake pop sticks
  • 1 bag orange melting chips
  • 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil, divided
  • 1 bag green melting chips
  • pastel sprinkles
  • 1 piece hard foam (optional)
  • edible markers
  1. Bake cake according to package instructions and let cool completely.
  2. Crumble cake and mix with 1/2 can frosting until dough forms. Add more frosting, if needed. Using small cookie scoop, form dough into balls and set aside. Place dough in bunny molds then pop out and set aside with balls. Place dough in cakesicle mold, insert ice pop stick in each slot and freeze 5-10 minutes.
  3. Melt handful of white melting chips. Stick tip of each cake pop stick in chocolate then insert into every cake ball and bunny until each has one stick. Set aside to dry.
  4. Remove cakesicles from freezer and pop out of molds. In bowl, melt orange melts then mix in 1 tablespoon oil and transfer to cup. Dip cakesicles and scrape off excess using rim of cup. Place on parchment paper to dry.
  5. In bowl, melt green melts then place in zip-top or piping bag. Cut tip off bag, pipe carrot leaves onto piece of parchment paper and let dry.
  6. Melt remaining white melts and mix in remaining oil. Transfer to cup and dip ball-shaped cake pops and bunnies then tap stick on edge of cup to remove excess.
  7. Over separate bowl, sprinkle ball-shaped pops with pastel sprinkles. To keep ball shape, let dry by sticking in piece of hard foam. Bunnies can dry face side up on parchment paper. After bunnies are dry, use edible markers to make face and color in ears.
  8. When carrots and leaves are dry, remelt orange melts and place in piping or zip-top bag. Cut off tip and drizzle orange over carrots. Add small line of orange on each ice pop stick and place leaves on each stick. Let dry.

Easter Sugar Cookies

Recipe courtesy of “Cookin’ Savvy”

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water, plus additional for thinning (optional), divided
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 bag (2 pounds) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • assorted food coloring

Cookies:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 dash salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  1. To make icing: Mix meringue powder, 1/2 cup warm water, vanilla, powdered sugar and corn syrup. Separate into bowls and add food coloring; mix with water, as needed, to thin for piping.
  2. To make cookies: Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time to form dough. Roll dough out to 1/4-1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Cut into shapes, place on baking sheet and freeze 10 minutes. Bake 8-12 minutes. Cool completely before icing.
  5. Place icing in zip-top or piping bags and cut off tips. Put cookies on parchment paper. Trace outline first then fill in middle. Use toothpicks to smooth out.
  6. Let dry 6 hours and finish decorating with different icing colors or edible markers.


SOURCE:
Culinary.net

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Beverages

Sipping Sunshine: Celebrating National Margarita Day

Celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22nd with a glass rimmed with salt, savoring the taste of summer whether on the rocks or blended! 🍹☀️ #NationalMargaritaDay

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February 22nd marks a beloved occasion for cocktail enthusiasts worldwide – National Margarita Day! This festive day invites individuals to raise their glasses and indulge in the tangy, refreshing flavors of this iconic beverage.

The classic Margarita, with its perfect blend of zesty lime, smooth tequila, and a touch of sweetness, encapsulates the essence of summer in every sip. Whether you prefer it on the rocks, elegantly garnished with a salted rim, or blended to icy perfection, National Margarita Day is a celebration of versatility and taste.

Beyond its delightful flavors, the Margarita embodies a spirit of relaxation and enjoyment. It’s a drink that beckons you to unwind, kick back, and savor the moment. Whether shared with friends at a lively gathering or enjoyed solo as a personal indulgence, the Margarita has a way of brightening any occasion.

So, on this National Margarita Day, take a moment to treat yourself to this timeless cocktail. Allow yourself to be transported to a sun-soaked beach with every sip, relishing the flavors and embracing the carefree spirit that the Margarita embodies.

Whether you’re a devoted Margarita aficionado or new to the world of tequila-based delights, National Margarita Day is the perfect excuse to raise a glass, toast to good times, and celebrate the joy of this beloved cocktail. Cheers to National Margarita Day – a day dedicated to sipping sunshine in a glass!

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Food and Beverage

Creamy and Delicious Chicken Alfredo Recipe

Indulge in the creamy goodness of our Chicken Alfredo recipe: tender chicken, al dente pasta, and a rich Parmesan sauce—a true culinary delight!

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Authentic Italian fettuccine alfredo pasta dish with grilled chicken breast

Welcome to our kitchen! Today, we’re going to show you how to make the best chicken Alfredo that will leave you craving for more. This classic Italian dish is creamy, flavorful, and oh-so-satisfying. Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Prep the Ingredients:
  • Cook the fettuccine pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook them in a skillet over medium heat until fully cooked. Remove from the pan and slice into thin strips.
  1. Make the Alfredo Sauce:
  • In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly until it starts to simmer.
  • Gradually whisk in the grated Parmesan cheese until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  1. Combine the Ingredients:
  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat the pasta evenly.
  • Gently fold in the sliced chicken strips, ensuring they are well coated with the sauce.
  • Let the dish simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  1. Serve:
  • Plate the chicken Alfredo and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
  • Optionally, sprinkle some extra Parmesan cheese on top for an added cheesy kick.
  • Serve hot and enjoy your homemade creamy chicken Alfredo!

There you have it – a simple yet decadent chicken Alfredo recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends. This dish is perfect for a cozy night in or a special gathering. Bon appétit!

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