Mary’s Memo #2276

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Women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and

blueberries each week were able to avoid memory problems for an average of 2.5

years longer than women who didn’t, according to study findings published in

the April 25, 2012, issue of the Annals of Neurology. Between 1995 and 2001,

memory was measured at two-year intervals in 16,010 older women (mean age 74)

participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers attributed the

beneficial effects of berries to flavonoids, antioxidants that are believed to

combat the inflammation that has been linked to cognitive decline.  Source: Weill Cornell Medical College

Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2012.


1.      Eat

more citrus fruit. Women who consumed the most citrus were less likely to have

an ischemic (clot-related) stroke than women who consumed the least, according

to data from the well known Nurses’ Health Study, reported in the journal


2.      Eat

more apples and pears. This advice comes from a Dutch study, also in Stroke.

People who ate the most white-fleshed produce had half the risk of stroke over

10 years, compared to those eating the least.

3.      Get

enough magnesium. A Swedish analysis in the American Journal of Clinical

Nutrition found that for every 100 milligram daily increase in dietary

magnesium, there was a 9 percent drop in stroke risk.

4.      Drink

a little (not a lot) of alcohol. Also from the Nurses’ Health Study, light to

moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink a day) was associated with a

lower risk of all strokes.

5.      Avoid

or at least limit trans fats. A study of participants in the Women’s Health

Initiative Observational Study in the Annals of Neurology found that those who

consumed the most trans fats (average 6 grams a day) were nearly 40 percent

more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the least

(averaging 2 grams a day).

Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness

Letter, July 2012.


It has been six years since

the FDA began requiring packed foods to list trans fats on the label. Though

animal foods like butter contain tiny amounts of natural trans fats, most trans

fats in our food supply are synthetic, created when unsaturated vegetable oils

are partially hydrogenated. In response to the labeling law, many manufacturers

voluntarily reduced or eliminated partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, from

their margarines, baked goods, snacks and other food. Some fast food

restaurants got rid of trans fats in French fries, while California and New

York City banned artificial trans fats in restaurants altogether. These

government and industry steps seem to be paying off now. According to a large

study from 

the Center for Disease Control in the Journal of the

American Medical Association in February, blood levels of trans fats decreased nearly

60 percent between 2000 and 2009, thanks to the removal of trans fats from

processed foods. The American Heart Association advises that trans fats provide

no more than 1 percent of your total daily calories (that’s less than 2 grams a

day for someone eating 2,000 calories a day). Check nutrition labels for trans

fats, but you have to read between the lines.  Because of a labeling loophole, manufacturers can say their products

have 0 grams of trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 grams per serving. That

may not sound like a lot, but the numbers add up if you eat several servings.

To avoid synthetic trans fats in packaged food, make sure that partially

hydrogenated oil is not in the ingredients list. If you use margarine, soft

(tub) margarines are much less likely to contain trans fats, or at least much

less of them, than hard margarine. Keep in mind that products that contain

trans fats tend to be junk foods anyway, often high in calories, fat and


Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness

Letter, July 2012.


Bryan Chief tasters gave a thumbs up to Blueberry Crunch Bars

recently. They liked them so much that most left with 2 pints of blueberries in

their basket. The other ingredients you are likely to have on hand. Also

appealing is the ease of preparation. 

Original recipe was made with vegetable shortening but I

used butter instead. If you use unsalted butter, do add ¼ teaspoon of salt. But

if you use salted butter skip the extra salt.



1 cup sugar


1 teaspoon baking powder


3 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour


1 cup unsalted butter


1 egg


¼ teaspoon salt


4 cups fresh blueberries


½ cup sugar


1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In medium bowl, stir together

sugar, baking powder, flour and salt. Using a fork or pastry cutter blend in

butter and egg (I did in a food processor, pulsing on and off).  Dough will be crumbly. Pat half the

mixture into 9x13-inch baking pan. In another bowl, stir together the ½ cup

sugar and cornstarch. Carefully fold in blueberries. Sprinkle blueberry filling

over bottom crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer. Bake in

preheated oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before

cutting into 15 squares.

Source: Recipe provided by

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