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: NOVEMBER 2018

Lab-Grown Meat Gaining Traction

More and more meat is being grown in labs from cultured cells. Several start-ups, such as Mosa Meat, Memphis Meats, SuperMeat and Finless Foods, are developing lab-grown beef, pork, poultry and seafood. This burgeoning niche industry is attracting millions in funding; Memphis Meats gobbled

….FULL ARTICLE

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FOOD BITES: MARCH 2021

Mediterranean-Style Diet Keeps Senior Minds Sharp


People who eat a Mediterranean-style diet – particularly one rich in green leafy vegetables and low in meat – are more likely to stay mentally sharp in later life, a study shows. Closely adhering to a Mediterranean diet was associated with higher scores on a range of memory and thinking tests among adults in their late 70s, the research found. These latest findings suggest a primarily plant-based diet may have benefits for cognitive functioning as we get older. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh tested the thinking skills of more than 500 people aged 79 years who did not have dementia. The tests included problem solving, thinking speed, memory and word knowledge, as well as a questionnaire about their eating habits during the previous year. The team used statistical models to look for associations between a person’s diet and their thinking skills and brain health in later life. The findings show that, in general, people who most closely adhered to a Mediterranean diet had the highest cognitive function scores. This gives evidence that a healthier life- style, of which diet is one aspect, is associated with better thinking skills in later life.


Munch On Mealworms (Maybe?)


The European Union’s food safety watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), has deemed mealworms safe for human

consumption. French company EAP Group Agronutris submitted the application for approval of mealworms in 2018. (Despite their name, mealworms are not actually worms – they are the larvae of the mealworm beetle.) Rich in fat and high-quality protein, mealworms offer a sustainable source of food with a lower carbon footprint. However, eating the bug may not be advisable for people with sea- food and dust mite allergies. EFSA experts are hopeful the European Commission will soon approve mealworms as a food product fit for supermarket shelves, kitchen pantries and restaurant menus across the EU. The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) welcomed the approval. IPIFF President Antoine Hubert said the approval marks a crucial step towards the wider EU commercialization of edible insects. The organization’s secretary-general, Christophe Derrien, says they hope the EFSA’s approval will lead to the marketing of mealworms by mid-2021. Mealworms and other edible insects require less labor and fewer resources to breed, unlike conventional farm animals, because insects can grow and reproduce at a much faster rate than livestock. Despite these advantages, it’s hard to imagine millions of people accepting edible bugs as food with open arms (and mouths). It will no doubt take a massive positive PR campaign to get people on board the bug bandwagon.


New Locust Swarms Overwhelm Control Measures


In Ethiopia and Somalia, locust infestations increased over the past month due to favorable weather conditions and widespread seasonal rains. Cyclone Gati in Somalia brought two years’ worth of rainfall within two days, transforming a hostile terrain into a favorable breeding ground. New locust swarms are also threatening to re-invade northern Kenya, while breeding is already underway on both sides of the Red Sea, posing a new threat to Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Last January, a massive locust infestation broke out in East Africa and the surrounding regions, blighting crops and further pushing affected communities to the brink of starvation. The locust outbreak was the worst seen in Kenya in seven decades and the worst for East Africa in 25 years. The FAO and its partner organizations increased surveillance in several affected regional areas and established control operations to minimize the outbreak. The measures were initially successful, saving around 2.7 million tons of cereal in countries already hard hit by acute food insecurity, pandemic and poverty. These efforts, however, were not enough to stop the new generation of locust swarms this month, especially in war-torn countries such as Somalia and Yemen, where control operations had to cease due to the ongoing conflicts. A typical desert locust swarm contains up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer, travels around 60 to 90 miles in just a day and destroys as much food crops in a day that could feed 2,500 people.

ANGELA S. HOOVER




Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.