FOOD BITES: APRIL 2018

DNA Diet Matching Doesn’t Work

A new study finds it doesn’t matter whether people try low-fat or low-carb diets for weight loss, even when their DNA suggests otherwise. The study’s results shed doubt on claims about diets that purport to be tailored to people’s specific genetic needs or predispositions.

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FOOD BITES: MAY 2018

Food, Mood and Aging

Young and mature adults require different foods to improve their mental health, say researchers from the State University of New York at Binghampton. The researchers used an anonymous Internet survey, asking people around the world to complete the Food-Mood Questionnaire, which includes....

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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: JANUARY 2017

Bomb-Detecting Spinach


Experimenting with a new field called plant nanobionics, MIT scientists have embedded the leaves of spinach plants with carbon nanotubes that are capable of detecting nitroaromatics – compounds often found in landmines and other explosives. As the spinach plant draws in groundwater, it can detect if nitroaromatics are present. Within 10 minutes, carbon nanotubes in the plant’s leaves will emit a fluorescent signal. Infrared cameras pick up the signal and broadcast it to a smartphone-like device that sends an email. Nanobionics aims to utilize the environmental responsiveness of plants because they can detect small changes and are even “aware” of impending droughts before people are. Other scientists working with nanobionics are exploring nitric oxide sensors, detecting dopamine and performing drought detection and even terrorism-related activities. The MIT team published their results in the journal Nature Materials.


Green Tea Molecule May Block Zika


Green tea has antioxidant properties, one of which is a polyphenol called EGCG. Scientists aren’t entirely sure how, but this molecule has been shown to fight antibiotic-resistant infections and other viruses such as

hepatitis C and HIV. Recently, scientists exposed the Zika virus to high concentrations of EGCG, and the polyphenol prevented 90 percent of the virus from entering and infecting host cells. Even better, EGCG is safe for pregnant women. The results were published in the journal Virology.


Nestlé Patenting Lower-Sugar Chocolate that Tastes the Same


Nestlé researchers claim they have found a way to structure sugar differently using only natural ingredients – and the decreased sugar content doesn’t make the chocolate taste different than chocolate made with standard amounts. “This process has the potential to reduce total sugar by up to 40 percent in our confectionery,” said Nestlé chief technology officer Stefan Catsicas. The Swiss company is patenting its discovery, which will be available to consumers beginning in 2018.  


ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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