HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

May 2016

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MEDIA

Putting Microbes to

Work in the Kitchen

 


For such small organisms, microbes, specifically the beneficial probiotic kinds found in the human intestinal tract, are big news. In study after study, scientists keep finding benefits associated with having a healthy microbial balance.

Such research, along with interest in more back-to-basics eating, has led to a revival of interest in fermented foods. “Fermenting microbes are an extraordinary class of creature,” write Jessica and Eric Childs in Fermentation & Home Brewing (Sterling). In addition to serving as probiotic boosters and protectors against food spoilage, such microbes “have evolved culinary skills…that impart distinctive flavors, textures and nutritive characteristics to raw, simple ingredients.”

In Fermentation & Home Brewing, the Childs—who run a fermentation supplies company— give the reader all the information he or she needs to put those tiny sous chefs to work. The recipes fall into two categories, “Eat” and “Drink.” In addition to such old standbys as sauerkraut and pickles, the foods include kimchi as well as fermented milk products like yogurt and even fermented doughs such as sourdough. The drinks include kefir, kombucha, hard cider, beer and a grain-based drink called rejuvelac.

Health experts and chefs agree: The right microbes work wonders. Fermentation & Home Brewing can help the would-be home fermenter get started.

 

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Vitamin C Linked to Reduced

Cataract Risks

 

 

Cataract, in which the eye’s lens becomes increasingly opaque, affects more than 20 million Americans. Now a study suggests that getting more dietary vitamin C may not only reduce one’s risk of developing cataracts but may also slow the rate at which they develop.

Researchers studied more than 1,000 pairs of British female twins, all approximately 60 years old. Besides having their lenses checked, the participants were asked to fill out food questionnaires to track intakes of various nutrients. Their lenses were reexamined about a decade later.

The first series of eye exams linked eating a C-rich diet with a 20% reduction in cataract risk. After 10 years, higher vitamin C intake was found to reduce cataract progression by 33%.

Results appeared in the journal Ophthalmology.

 

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NUMBERS

 

Breakfast on the Move

 

63%

People who grab breakfast

at home to eat on the go

 

31%

People who buy breakfast

at convenience stores or

gas stations

 

21%

People who skip breakfast

when time is limited

 

Source: Institute of Food Technologists

 

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MEDIA

Can Yoga Help Ease PTSD?

 


In “The Lonely Road Home” (November/December 2015), four American veterans shared their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and with the alternative therapies—assistance dogs, hyperbaric oxygen, water sports and support groups—that helped them find a measure of peace. As one of them put it, “I’ve learned how to cope better. I know that I’m not what I used to be, but I can be all I can be in this condition.”

The need for such assistance is great. The US Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 11% of veterans who served in Afghanistan and 20% of those who served in Iraq suffered from PTSD. And that’s in addition to civilians who can develop this disorder after experiencing traumatic events such as criminal assaults, car accidents or natural disasters.

Yoga may help. A study team led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed 13 scientific literature reviews that included 185 journal articles on the subject.

In Trauma, Violence & Abuse, the team wrote, “Findings show that the evidence regarding yoga as an intervention for the effects of trauma as well as the mental health symptoms and illnesses often associated with trauma is encouraging but preliminary.” They suggested using yoga in conjunction with more established treatments such as psychotherapy.

The team believed that yoga had the potential to help people stuggling with other trauma-related mood problems such as anxiety and depression.

Yoga instructor Leslie Roach, one of the study’s co-authors, said, “I also think there needs to be a whole lot more education about how to use yoga specifically to treat survivors of trauma in order to be the most effective and helpful.”

 

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Walkable Neighborhoods,

More Exercise

 


Living in a bustling neighborhood means at least 90 more minutes of exercise a week compared with life in less-walkable parts of a city.

That’s the conclusion reached by a University of California, San Diego research team, which studied more than 6,800 adults in 14 cities around the world.

“Neighborhoods with high residential density tend to have connected streets, shops and services—meaning people will be more likely to walk to their local shops,” says study lead author James Sallis, PhD, of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The number of local parks was also important, since parks not only provide places for sport, but also a pleasant environment to walk in.”

Study participants averaged 37 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, including brisk walking. Those living in more activity-friendly areas, however, got as much as 90 extra minutes on the move every week, according to study results published in The Lancet.
At a little over 50 minutes a day, Wellington, New Zealand, had the highest rate of daily activity among the cities included in the study. Baltimore had the lowest with an average of about 29 minutes.

Excessive time spent sitting has been labeled “the new smoking,” with dozens of studies linking a sedentary lifestyle with increased mortality and poorer health.

 

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Coffee May Cut Colon Cancer Risk

 


Some good news about your morning joe: Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Israeli researchers compared data from more than 5,100 people who had colon cancer and more than 4,000 who didn’t have it. All were asked about various cancer risk factors, such as smoking, and about how much coffee they drank.

According to results in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, having up to two cups of coffee a day was linked with a 26% reduction in risk. Having more than 2.5 cups reduced risk by up to 50%.

 

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QUOTE

 

Gardeners are good at nurturing,

and they have a great

quality of patience.

They have to be persistent.

 

—Ralph Fiennes


To learn about gardening in an
urban environment, Click here.

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