Food for Thought

  1. Earth

    Toxic runoff from plastic mulch

    By laying sheets of plastic across their fields, farmers can bring crops to market faster while reducing their vulnerability to many blights (SN: 12/13/97, p. 376). On the negative side, however, this polymer mulch creates impermeable surfaces over more than half of a planted field. That significantly increases the amount of rain and pesticides that […]

  2. Health & Medicine

    Vitamin E targets dangerous inflammation

    People with diabetes face a high risk of heart attack and stroke. One apparent culprit is the chronic, low-grade inflammation that they develop. Megadoses of vitamin E can dramatically reduce that inflammation, a new study finds. Ishwarlal Jialal and Sridevi Devaraj of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas studied 47 men and […]

  3. Health & Medicine

    A different GI link to colon cancers

    As they head for the stomach from the mouth, the carbohydrates in vegetables, breads, fruits, and candy all begin breaking down into simple sugars. According to some studies, carbs with a low glycemic index (GI)–meaning that they are digested slowly–reduce a persons risk of heart disease and obesity through an as yet unidentified mechanism linked […]

  4. Health & Medicine

    Chocolate-science news

    Make no mistake: Chocolate is not a health food. Indeed, most portions are loaded with empty calories from sugar and saturated fats. Hershey Foods Corp. Several studies in recent years, however, have demonstrated that among sweets, chocolate may possess a few nutritional advantages over most calorie-rich alternatives. The latest of these good-news findings is a […]

  5. Health & Medicine

    Soy slashes cancer-fostering hormones (with recipe)

    Asian women tend to have much lower breast-cancer rates than their Western counterparts–unless they move to Europe or North America. Then the cancers incidence in these women begins to match local norms. United Soybean Board This observation has suggested that something about the Western way of life, probably diet, promotes cancer–or that something about Eastern […]

  6. Health & Medicine

    Berry promising anticancer prospects

    Twelve years ago, scientists uncovered a mechanism to explain why the folk remedy of eating cranberries fights urinary tract infections. It now appears that the medicinal powers of the pucker-inducing berries might extend to breast cancer as well. Cranberry Marketing Committee For years, Najla Guthrie and her colleagues at the University of Western Ontario in […]

  7. Health & Medicine

    Stress-prone? Altering the diet may help

    Some people undertake seemingly impossible tasks without frustration, while others become anxious or depressed. A Dutch study now finds that the latter individuals might cope with pressure better if they tailored their diet to fuel the brain with more tryptophan. The brain uses this essential amino acid, a building block of many proteins, to fashion […]

  8. Health & Medicine

    Fighting cancer from the cabbage patch

    Sauerkraut a health food? Not yet. But midwestern scientists have found evidence that something in this pickled cabbage and related foods blocks the action of estrogen, a hormone that can fuel the growth of breast cancer and other reproductive-tract malignancies. Nutritionist William G. Helferich of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues were […]

  9. Health & Medicine

    Path to heart health is one with a peel

    Citrus fruits may deserve a more prominent role in the diet. A research team in Canada has just shown that drinking several glasses of orange juice daily can pump up blood concentrations of the so-called good cholesterol. Boosting this high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol can slow the buildup of artery-clogging plaque (SN: 9/9/89, p. 171). In their […]

  10. Chemistry

    New solution for kitchen germs

    Cooking will kill almost any microbe. But when it comes to serving raw foods, such as the vegetables in a garden salad, neutralizing germs with heat is not an option and washing the greens doesn’t reliably disinfect. Although raw produce can be sanitized in a bath of dilute bleach, a team of Georgia scientists is […]