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.

….FULL ARTICLE

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: JUNE 2020

Too Much Salt Weakens the Immune System


A high-salt diet is not only bad for blood pressure, it also weakens the antibacterial immune defense, according to researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany. Mice fed a high-salt diet had more severe bacterial infections. Human volunteers who ate an additional 6 grams of salt per day – the equivalent of two fast-food meals – also showed pronounced immune deficiencies. “We have now been able to prove for the first time that excessive salt intake also significantly weakens an important arm of the immune system,” said Dr. Christian Kurts with the Institute of Experimental Immunology at the University of Bonn. It was an unexpected finding because other studies have pointed in the opposite direction. Infections with certain skin parasites in lab animals heal faster if they consume a high-salt diet. Macrophages (immune cells that attack, eat and digest parasites) are particularly active in the presence of salt. Several physicians concluded sodium chloride has a generally immune-enhancing effect. “Our results show this generalization is not accurate,” said Katarzyna Jobin, lead author of the study. The body keeps salt concentration fairly constant in the blood and in various organs; otherwise, important biological processes would be impaired. The kidneys filter out additional salt and excrete it in the urine. The kidneys have a salt sensor that activates the salt excretion function. “Only through investigations in an entire organism were we able to uncover the complex control circuits that lead from salt intake to this immunodeficiency,” Kurts said. The results were

published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on March 25. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend 5 grams (2,300 mg) a day as the maximum amount of salt for adults – about one level teaspoon. Americans consume nearly double that amount, according to the FDA. That high salt intake comes mainly from processed and prepared foods rather than the salt shaker.


Unsold Bread Transformed Into Probiotic Drink in Singapore


In April, a team of food scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) came up with a creative solution to bread waste. They formulated a novel fermentation process to upcycle surplus bread into a beverage fortified with gut-friendly micro-organisms. The beverage offers at least 1 billion live probiotic cells per serving, the current amount recommended by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics to deliver maximum health benefits. The creamy, sweet, slightly fizzy drink is the only known probiotic bread-based beverage. After testing different types of bread, the team focused on white sandwich bread. They perfected their recipe in nine months. The bread is cut into small pieces and blended with water to create a bread-slurry. After this slurry is pasteurized,

probiotic bacteria and yeast are added and the mixture is left to ferment for a day. “Most probiotic drinks are dairy-based and unsuitable for people with lactose intolerance. Our bread-based probiotic beverage is non- dairy, making it an attractive option for this group of consumers,” said Dr. Toh Mingzhan with the Department of Food Science and Technology at the NUS Faculty of Science. The NUS team filed a patent for their process and is seeking industry partners to commercialize the drink.

ANGELA S. HOOVER




Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.