FOOD BITES: JUNE 2018

Vegetables Harvested in Antarctica Without Sun, Soil or Pesticides

Scientists in Antarctica have harvested the first crop of vegetables grown without soil, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets. Researchers at Germany’s Neumayer Station III say eight pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes....

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FOOD BITES: JULY 2018

Magnesium Treats Depression

As little as 248 mg of magnesium per day leads to an astounding reversal of depression syndrome, according to research conducted at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and published in the journal PLoS One in June 2017.

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FOOD BITES: AUGUST 2018

Source of Yuma E. Coli Romaine Found

Federal officials first announced on April 13 an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown and produced in the Yuma, Ariz., area. Federal investigators found the source of the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 on July 28: canal water.

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FOOD BITES: JUNE 2017

Diet Soda Can Cause Weight Gain

Diet sodas with aspartame can boost the appetite, said a study published in the International Journal of Obesity last December. The researchers found people who consumed diet drinks with aspartame felt hungrier than those who did not, and thus ended up consuming more calories. They additionally found, as previous research had, that aspartame can lead to a condition known as metabolic syndrome, which involves a cluster of symptoms such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and large waist size. The effects were the same when study participants used artificial sweeteners in tea and coffee. Other studies with mice have shown artificial sweeteners could cause people to absorb more glucose.


Sugar: Reduced Memory, Brain Volume

The sugar-brain connection is no longer a theory, according to a pair of research papers. Too much sugar in the diet is linked to cognitive and brain deficits, said the studies that derived data from the long-running Framingham Heart Study. One study showed sugary drinks are linked to pre-clinical Alzheimer’s disease, with poor memory and reduced brain volume in certain areas. The other study found artificial sweeteners aren’t much better because they are linked to a greater risk of stroke and dementia. The first study from the Boston University School of Medicine followed more than 4,200 people who were periodically tested for memory and cognition. The researchers performed MRI brain scans

on them to measure volume. The participants filled out questionnaires about their food intake, including sugary drinks, both sodas and fruit juices. Sugary drinks are a great way to study the effects of excess sugar since they have almost no redeeming nutritional qualities, such as protein or fiber to slow their absorption; their sugar performs like a straight drug into the system. The researchers found those who consumed more sweetened drinks had poorer memory and reduced overall brain volume – particularly in the hippocampus area that is known to store short-term memory – compared to those who did not imbibe sugary drinks. The authors calculated having one to two sugary drinks per day was associated with 1.6 years of brain aging; more than two drinks per day was associated with two extra years of aging. For memory, the association was even more pronounced: More than two sugary drinks per day corresponded to 11 years of brain aging. The other study wanted to see if there was a link between sugary drink consumption and artificially sweetened drink consumption with dementia and stroke. There was a link between artificially sweetened drink consumption and both types of brain disease. Participants who drank at least one artificially sweetened drink per day were three times as likely to develop stroke and almost three times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.


Table Salt vs. Kosher Salt  

Salt is salt is salt at the end of a day when it comes to flavor – but measurement is where it matters. Kosher salt is thicker and flakier than table salt, which is finer and more uniform in shape. If a recipe calls for a certain amount of kosher salt, can you replace it with table salt? Yes, but you must be mindful of the amount you use. For instance, one quarter cup of kosher salt weighs 39 grams. The same amount of table salt weighs a whopping 76 grams – nearly twice as much. So if a recipe calls for kosher salt and you’re using a different salt, just season to taste as you go along. The only time the measurement difference will matter is when it’s for something you cannot taste as you are cooking, such as a brine or marinade. In these instances, be mindful of the type of salt called for and adjust accordingly if you use a different type of salt.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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