Food Bites: May 2018

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: 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 questions on food groups associated with neurochemistry and neurobiology. Mood in young adults (ages 18-29 years) seems to be dependent on food that increases the availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain, such as meat. Regular consumption of meat leads to a build-up of two brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, known to promote mood. Regular exercise leads to an increase in these and other neurotransmitters as well. Young adults who ate meat fewer than three times a week and exercised fewer than three times a week showed significant mental distress. Mood in mature adults (over 30 years of age) may be more reliant on food that increases the availability of antioxidants, such as fruits, and abstinence from food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system, such as coffee and foods with a high glycemic index. “One of the major findings of this paper is diet and dietary practices differentially affect mental health in young adults versus mature adults,” said Linda Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness at SUNY Binghampton. With aging, there is an increase in free radical formation (oxidants), so the need for antioxidants increases. Free radicals cause disturbances in the brain, increasing the risk for

mental distress. Also, the ability to regulate stress decreases, so if people consume food that activates the stress response, such as coffee, they are more likely to experience mental distress. Begdache and her team believe there is a gender difference in brain morphology, which may also be sensitive to dietary components. This could explain some documented gender-specific mental distress, said Begdache. The research was published in Nutritional Neuroscience.


Palm Oil Suppliers Revealed to Curtail Deforestation

Italy-based confectionary maker Ferrero issued an extensive list of 116 oil palm mills, which includes suppliers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Colombia in March. The list reveal was brought about by an initiative by Greenpeace International to clamp down on deforestation by palm oil producers before the end of the decade. Ferrero will update the list every six months and provide information about its sustainability progress. Greenpeace says decades of deforestation by the oil producers has set conditions for forest and peatland fires and endangered the health of people across Southeast Asia, exploited workers and encouraged child labor.


ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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