No pain, no grain
Exercise is good for you and - thanks to an initiative by a local fitness training company - also for those less fortunate. Circuit25 has launched the All4One charity scheme, where every calorie burned by participants attending its circuit training classes is translated into an equal caloric donation, in the form of rice, to the needy. On average, a participant burns 800 calories per class - about four bowls of cooked rice, or two bowls of uncooked rice. The total calorie burn at the end of each quarter will be converted into rice donations; the first will be on March 31 with St James' Settlement the beneficiary. To do your part, just attend a Circuit25 (www.circuit25.com) class. Price per session starts from HK$100 (part of a 50-session package) to HK$200.
Fancy turning plain fruit into a delicious dish? Head to a Wellcome supermarket and pick up their new fruit recipe booklet for just HK$5. The booklet, which features eight recipes by the World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong, is published in support of Sunday's Beat the Banana Charity Run at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade organised by WCRF HK. It also comes with a 10 per cent discount card for all fruit at Wellcome, so you can stock up on those Korean strawberries or Chilean blueberries used in the recipes. All proceeds from the sale of the booklet will go to WCRF HK for research and education in cancer prevention. Shane Bourk, head of fresh foods for Wellcome, is the Banana Man that runners will be looking to beat this Sunday.
Bird flu forces park closure
Yet another dead bird - an oriental magpie robin - in Yuen Long has tested positive for the H5N1 avian flu virus, bringing the total number of dead birds in the city confirmed H5N1-positive to 11 as of last Tuesday. Early this month, a trio of infected dead birds was collected in Yuen Long over a span of 10 days, leading to the closure of the Hong Kong Wetland Park, which is within a three-kilometre radius from where the carcasses were found. The park will be closed until next Tuesday as a precautionary measure. During this time, it will step up cleansing and disinfection, wild bird monitoring, and publicity about avian flu prevention. The indoor section of the park will remain open.
Fill up on fish
A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities, according to a study by the University of California, Los Angeles, published today in the journal Neurology. There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids - ALA, from vegetable sources (such as kale, flaxseed, canola or soya bean oil), and EPA and DHA, from fatty fish (such as salmon). In the UCLA study, a series of tests and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans were conducted on 1,575 dementia-free people with an average age of 67. Those whose DHA levels were among the bottom 25 per cent of the participants had lower brain volume compared with people with higher DHA levels. Similarly, those with levels of all omega-3 fatty acids in the bottom 25 per cent scored lower on tests of visual memory, problem solving, multi-tasking and abstract thinking.