Omega-3 acids linked to child allergies, prostate risk

Updated 12 July 2013
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Omega-3 acids linked to child allergies, prostate risk

STOCKHOLM: Omega-3 fatty acids, often taken to boost health, appear to increase the risk of childhood allergies and prostate cancer, according to two studies unveiled yesterday.
Newborns with high levels of unsaturated fats in their blood were more prone to develop an allergy than those with lower blood concentrations, according to a probe by three Swedish universities.
“It is already known that unsaturated fatty acids inhibit activation of the immune system. This can be useful when you are old,” Agnes Wold, a physician at the clinical microbiology department of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University Hospital, said in a statement.
“But the baby’s immune system needs to get a kick start, otherwise it does not develop properly,” she said.
Previous research has indicated that children who at an early age were given fish, which is famously high in omega-3 fatty acids, were less likely to get an allergy.
Another author of the study, food science professor Ann-Sofie Sandberg, cautioned against avoiding fish on the basis of these findings.
“Fish is so much more than just omega-3 fatty acids. One cannot conclude from our study that pregnant women and young children should not eat fish,” she said.
Separately, a large study published in Britain’s Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that three omega-3 fatty acids were associated with an increase of between 43 and 71 percent in the risk of developing prostate cancer.
The biggest increase in risk was for so-called high-grade prostate cancer, whose tumors are more likely to be fatal.
The study, led by scientists at the US Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, amplifies previous findings in 2011 that suggested these fatty acids play an unexplained role in initiating prostate cancer.


Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

Ta’ateemah includes a variety of dishes such as dibyazah, red mish, chicken and lamb stew and bread. File/Getty Images
Updated 19 June 2018
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Ta’ateemah: Giving Eid a Hijazi flavor

  • Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread
  • The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it

JEDDAH: Ta’ateemah is the name of the breakfast feast Hijazis enjoy on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr. It is derived from the Arabic word, itmah, or darkness, because the dishes served are light, just like midnight snacks.

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al-Fitr to feast after fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. But it is called Al-Fitr from iftar, or breakfast when translated to English, which is a meal Muslims do not get to experience during that month.
The first day of Eid is a day where they finally can, and they greet the day with joy by heading to Eid prayers and then enjoying this traditional meal.
Amal Turkistani, mother of five from Makkah who now lives in Jeddah, told Arab News all about a special Eid dish.
“The most famous dish is the dibyaza, and making a dish of it is a work of art that I can proudly say I excel at. Dibyaza is made of melted dried apricots, roasted nuts, figs, peach and sugary dates to create a marmalade-like dish that can be enjoyed with or without bread.”
She revealed that dibyaza is not a quick meal — it is usually prepared a day or two before Eid with the ingredients simmered to reach the correct liquid thickness.
No one can trace the origins of dibyaza — it remains a mystery. Some people claim it originated in Turkey, while others attribute it to the Indians.
A number of women who are famous for their dibyaza agreed that it is a Makkawi dish. This marmalade dish was developed and improved, with tiny details to distinguish it.
The dibyaza is also similar to an Egyptian dish called khoshaf, but dibyaza is often partnered with shureik — a donut-shaped bread with sesame sprinkled all over it.
Turkistani said sweet shops sell 1 kg of dibyaza for SR50 ($13), competing with housewives who make their own.

 

“I think it is always tastier when it’s homemade because of all the love that goes into making it. It’s also a wonderful way to greet your family and neighbors with this special dish that you only enjoy once a year.”
Her younger sister, Fatin, said: “My siblings always have Eid breakfast at my place, so it’s up to me to prepare the feast. My sister spares me the exhausting dibyaza-making, so I prepare two main dishes: Minazalla, which is a stew of lamb chops with tahini and a tomato chicken stew.
“She also serves what we call nawashif, or dry food, like different types of cheese and olives, pickled lemon, labneh, red mish — a mixture of white cheese, yogurt and chili pepper and halwa tahini,” Amal said.
Mohammed Ibrahim, 23, from Makkah, told Arab News: “It always feels unique to have minazalla and nawashif during Eid, and not just because it is followed by the Eidiyah.”

Decoder

What is Eidiyah?

It is money elders in the family give to the youth to celebrate Eid and to congratulate them on completing Ramadan fasting.