Plant life possesses special chemicals that may have a tremendous impact on our quality of life. They have been given a special classification called phytochemicals. These are chemicals that are responsible for giving a plant its protective coloring, its unique odor and special taste. Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds are rich sources of these phytochemicals. These chemicals have a tremendous effect on the chemicals in our body. Scientists are now attributing plant chemicals with the power to prevent one in five cases of cancer. Studies are finding that they are powerful in stimulating the immune system against fighting off bacteria and viruses. They can reduce inflammation, block environmental carcinogens, trigger death of damaged cells as well as regulate hormones. As far back as the early 1900s scientists started questioning why people who ate a diet rich in plant food had lower rates of cancer. It was then discovered that certain plants such as broccoli had sulforaphane which seemed to stop cells from becoming cancerous. However, not all of these chemicals have been named or classified. Some of the more commonly known are lycopene in tomatoes, resveratrol in grapes, curcumin in turmeric, beta-carotene in sweet potatoes and the list goes on and on. Supplements have now been made available for many of these chemicals. However, they are not as effective and, in some cases, have even proven to be toxic if taken in large amounts. Phytochemicals are best absorbed if taken in combination with their original food source. Some questions remain to be answered. What quantity is sufficient for maximum health, how long does their protection last, how do they react with each other and to what extent does cooking affect them? Until all of these questions are answered it can’t hurt to sit down and enjoy a colorful plate of mixed fruits and vegetables.
Myopia (nearsightedness) is a condition that has steadily increased since the 1970s. According to the National Eye Institute, 90% of high school graduates now have this condition. With Myopia there is an elongation of the eyeball changing the angle in which sunlight hits the eyeball in turn making it difficult to focus on distant objects. The condition has been attributed to the many hours young people spend on technology. A new study in Jama Ophthalmology is attributing Myopia to many hours spent indoors and the lack of sunshine. The London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined 3,100 older Europeans. All factors were considered from careers to hours spent reading. Those that had been exposed to UVB radiation from the sun, between ages 14 and 19, were 25% less likely to have developed Myopia by middle age. Caution should still be taken as to avoiding sun exposure during peak hours.
Researchers at Cornell University discovered that diners in cafeterias that grabbed a tray before collecting a meal were more inclined to collect foods of a more balanced nature. Selections usually included a salad, entree and a dessert. A tray-less trip usually forced diners to leave one of the choices since only one dish could be carried in each hand. The study showed that those individuals usually left out the salad and kept the dessert.
The challenge for fruit growers has always been, how can you leave fruit on the vine long enough to ripen and still be juicy when it arrives at market? This is the goal of Apeel Sciences a company whose aim is to eliminate gas and wax used by most commercial farmers. We have grown accustomed to fruits and vegetables that are devoid of taste simply because of their ability to withstand time and transportation. In so doing most produce is picked before it is truly ripe. Crops can be dipped in a solution called Edipeel created by Apeel Sciences. It is a product that has been derived from totally organic sources composed of grape skins after wine-making, stems of broccoli that have been discarded, banana peels and other fruit and vegetable waste. Edipeel creates an edible barrier that can repel pests and fungi during transport.
A study published by the Journal Chemosphere found that Manhattan neighborhoods that had the highest blood lead levels in children also had high levels in pigeons that inhabited the same region. Rebecca Calisi of Bernard College conducted the study. Data from 825 pigeons was examined. There was a direct correlation between pigeons and children in both Soho and Greenwich village according to statistical analysis by the New York City Health Department and data from the Wild Bird Fund. Pigeons are easy to study because they live in close proximity to humans, eat the same food and spend most of their lives in a square mile. This information could prove invaluable in detecting areas of the city that might pose a potential risk for lead poisoning and therefore prevent health problems before they arise. The benefits of using pigeons could extend outside the city limits where they could be useful in monitoring heavy metals, pesticides and fire retardants.
Farmers are discovering, through the use of drones, how to monitor the health of their fields. Using drones not only spares farmers the expense of hiring a plane for hundreds of dollars an hour but reduces the amount of fuel emissions. Drones equipped with NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) can give farmers a heads-up months earlier as to crop yield instead of waiting until harvest time. The devices will help farmers spot potential diseases, weeds and flooding giving them sufficient time to remedy the problem. This will alleviate the need to spray acres and acres of farmland and concentrate on just the areas that need attention. This could be a big step in bringing healthier crops to market due to the reduction of pesticide usage.
When running forward, runners hit the ground near the back of the foot and roll onto the front. Backward runners use a completely different set of muscles to complete the activity. Studies have found that backward runners use more leg muscle and in so doing require 30% more energy resulting in burning more calories. Just the act of walking backwards can increase a level of physical performance. Backward running is now being used in physical therapy due to the amount of decreased stress it places on the knees. This is especially useful for older adults. Studies done at the University of Milan show that, although there is a danger of falling, there is tremendous benefits to a person’s balance. Best to start slowly on a track and with a partner who can guide you.
1) It was once very rare and sought after. It has even been recorded that it was priced higher then gold at one time. 2) It is an interesting addition to tomato sauce. A stick of cinnamon will add a hint of sweetness. 3) Ancient Egyptians used it to make their mummies. It has a preservative quality about it due to its ability to inhibit bacterial growth. Cinnamon can be used as a food preservative. 4) Cinnamon contains polyphenols which has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This makes it a great spice to start off your day. Add it to your oatmeal or morning shake. 5) As far as cost, taste tests proved no difference in brands that were priced at $1 as opposed to those priced at $4.50 6) This spice possesses very high anti-inflammatory properties because of its ability to increase blood circulation.