It is actually a tiny intestinal tube. In large shrimp, it can be a little gritty, and most cooks prefer to remove it. But if the shrimp have been cooked, eating the vein won’t harm you. In fact, some Southern shrimp eaters believe it actually enhances flavor.
Never give honey to children less than a year old. About 10% of honey contains dormant Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause botulism in infants. Infant botulism is the most common form of botulism in this country, with honey the cause in approximately one-third of all cases. Honey is safe for older children, however.
To reduce the risk of prostate cancer, eat fish, especially fatty fish.
In a Harvard study, men who ate the most fish were least likely to develop advanced prostate cancer. Fish oil supplements did not decrease the risk.
Don’t assume that light beers are “light” in alcohol: most brands contain nearly as much alcohol as regular beer. The “light” in beer refers to calories, which must be reduced to at least 25%. Light beers average about 100 in 12 ounces, versus 140 to 200 in regular beers. The lower calorie content comes from a reduction in carbohydrates, not alcohol. To avoid alcohol, try nonalcoholic beers, which contain just a trace—and, thanks to the lack of alcohol, only 50 to 95 calories per can. There’s very little difference between most “low carb” and “light” beers.
Even if an egg has been removed from its shell, it can still explode during or after microwaving if the yolk is left intact. The yolk’s outer membrane acts as the shell: after microwaving, the yolk is very hot and under pressure, and when pierced it can explode in a person’s face and cause serious burns. Always pierce the yolk before microwaving—or scramble the egg.
Pack raw meat and poultry separately from fruits and vegetables at the market.
That way the meats’ juices (which may contain disease-causing bacteria) won’t drip on the produce. Such contamination can cause serious food poisoning if you don’t wash the produce well before eating it raw.
To get more juice out of a lemon, orange, grapefruit, or lime, roll it on a counter or between your hands before cutting it. Microwaving also makes it easier to juice citrus fruit: microwave one fruit (taken from the refrigerator) on high for 30 to 45 seconds; two fruits, for 60 seconds.
For a potato chip tastealike:
Preheat your oven to 400° F., was one large baking potato, and cut it into thin slices. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil (you can use a spray), and arrange the slices in a single layer; brush or spray very lightly with oil, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once. The slices should be crisp and brown.
If you like wine but want to avoid alcohol, try nonalcoholic wines, which contain less than 0.5% alcohol. Removing the alcohol eliminates many “empty” calories, so nonalcoholic wines have less than one-third the calories of regular wine—about 20 to 30 in 5 ounces, versus the usual 100. Grape juice is another option, though it is high in calories. Like nonalcoholic wines, it contains some of the heart-healthy compounds found in wine but lacks the heart benefits that come from the alcohol itself.
Watch out for chicken nuggets at fast food restaurants.
They are not a healthier choice than burgers. Nuggets are among the fastest-growing foods in the American diet, especially among kids. Made from finely ground dark and light meat, as well as skin, they also contain lots of breading, fillers, and added fats, including artery-damaging trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils. Frozen nuggets sold in supermarkets can be just as bad.
If you’re trying to lower your blood cholesterol, don’t drink lots of unfiltered European style coffee, such as that made in a French press (a carafe with a plunger). Large amounts of such coffee can boost cholesterol levels by 6 to 10%. The culprits are substances called diterpenes, found in oil droplets floating in the coffee as well as in the sediment. Espresso or Turkish/Greek coffee has a similar, though
the smaller, effect on blood cholesterol. Drip coffee (made with a paper filter) and percolated coffee contains only negligible amounts of diterpenes and thus are no problem.
To test how much fat is in a cracker, rub it with a paper napkin.
If it leaves a grease mark, there’s lots of fat in it. Even if the fat in the cracker comes from highly unsaturated vegetable oil, you don’t need the extra calories.
Beware of claims made for locally prepared foods labeled “diet,” “light,” or “low-calorie.” Surveys show that such foods (muffins, ice cream, cookies, etc.) often weigh more and have much more fat and calories than the label says. Lax enforcement at the local level allows many food makers to get away with wild claims and boldly understated data.
Choose Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon to save on calories and saturated fat. Grilled Canadian bacon, which is more like ham, has about 50 calories and 2 grams of fat per ounce (one thick slice). Regular bacon has about 165 calories and 14 grams of fat per ounce (four slices). They are equally high in sodium, however, with about 450 milligrams per ounce.
Don’t overlook canned vegetables and fruits, which retain most vitamins and minerals.
The heating process of commercial canning partially destroys certain vitamins, but some nutrient loss is inevitable whenever food is prepared. “Fresh” produce is not necessarily more nutritious, since much of it is harvested before it is ripe, trucked thousands of miles, and stored for long periods—in which case nutrient losses can be great. Canned beans, pumpkin, corn, pineapple, spinach, and beets, to name a few, are actually quite nutritious. But watch out for added sodium.
Most frozen fruit juice pops, sorbets, and ices are only very distantly related to fresh fruits or their juices. They’re more like frozen sweetened water. They contain little of the fruit’s vitamins (unless they are vitamin-fortified), but also little or no fat. For a more nutritious fruity dessert, freeze your own juice in an ice-pop mold or icecube tray. Or freeze canned fruit and then purée it.