HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

June 2013

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Top Ten Homegrown Veggies

As summer rolls in, gardeners across the country are watering, weeding and reaping the rewards
of their labor in the form of lovingly tended vegetables. This list of the most popular crops comes courtesy of the National Gardening Association (www.garden.org).

Vegetable Available Types Quick Kitchen Tip
Tomatoes

Sizes range from cherry to softball-sized beefsteak; colors include white, yellow, green, orange, pink, purple, black and bicolor in addition to the standard red

Scoop out large beefsteak types to create edible cups for whole-grain pasta salad

Cucumbers Slicers for salad and other fresh uses, and picklers; others include longer, thinner Asian varieties and “burpless” types that are supposed to be less gas-producing Slice about a half-inch thick for
use as appetizer serving “dishes”; use a peeler to create fluted edges
Sweet Peppers Includes the large, blocky bells and thinner frying types in addition to mini-sized peppers; colors include green, red, orange, yellow and purple (most start green) Roast: Place on grill 10-12 minutes, then in bowl covered with plastic 15-20 minutes to loosen skins
Beans In addition to standard green beans, there are Romanos (Italian flat beans) and long, skinny varieties, plus limas and soybeans; some are purple, yellow or red Sauté with shiitake mushrooms, then drizzle with a little toasted sesame oil
Carrots Some are long and skinny, others are short and stocky; in addition to orange, colors include purple, red and yellow Cut diagonally to expose more
surface for faster cooking
Summer Squash Besides the famously prolific green zucchini, some squash are yellow or striped; shapes include crookneck, ball and pattypan (flattened with scalloped edges) Avoid watery squash by baking or grilling, which removes excess moisture
Onions Some are sweeter, others more pungent; white, red and yellow varieties come in a range of sizes; category also includes scallions (green onions) and shallots Avoid tears when slicing onions
by lighting a candle, which draws in the offending gas
Hot Peppers Heat levels range from the bananas and poblanos through the jalepeños and serranos to the incredibly hot habaneros; heat increases in hot, dry growing conditions Reduce the heat level by removing the seeds and ribs (remember: don’t touch your eyes)
Lettuce Includes looseleaf, butterhead, elongated romaine and crisphead (including iceberg); some have red or variegated leaves Cut romaine heads in half, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill for a few minutes on each side
Peas Some are meant to be shelled; others have edible pods, either thick (snap peas) or thin (snow peas) Drain the cooking liquid as soon as possible so they don’t overcook

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Vitamin E May Fight Obesity-

Related Liver Woes

Excess weight can lead to liver disease. But vitamin E may help prevent this from happening, according to study results that researchers stumbled upon by a fortunate accident.

Scientists from three institutions had intended to examine the effects of vitamin E deficiency on the central nervous system. However, they realized that the mice they were working with had advanced
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an obesity complication marked by fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver. Giving the animals vitamin E averted most NASH-related symptoms.

Results were reported at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

According to the National Institutes of Health, NASH affects 2% to 5% of the population in the US. The most common liver disorder not related to alcohol consumption, it often causes no symptoms. NASH may be diagnosed after blood tests reveal a rise in liver enzymes, an indication of damage; if the damage continues, cirrhosis, a scarring and hardening of the liver, may develop.

Researchers believe that vitamin E’s antioxidant properties may explain its ability to protect the liver.

“These findings may have a significant impact on public health, as the vast majority of adults in the United States do not consume the amount of vitamin E recommended by the National Institute of Medicine,” says Danny Manor, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, one of the institutions collaborating on the study.

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Gardening Your Way to Weight Loss?

Burying your hands in the soil may help you bury excess pounds as well, according to a University of Utah study.

Researchers looked at three groups of people: community garden participants, their siblings and spouses, and unrelated neighbors. Study enrollees had their body mass index (BMI), a rough indication of body fat percentage, measured; anything over 24.9 is considered overweight.

The average BMI of the female gardeners was 1.84 lower than that of their non-gardening neighbors, which represents a weight difference of 11 pounds for a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall. For men the effect was more pronounced, with an average BMI difference of 2.36 that translates to a 16-pound weight difference for a man 5 feet 10 inches tall. Male gardeners were 62% less likely to
be overweight or obese; women gardeners, 46% percent less.

Gardeners of both genders had lower BMIs than their same-sex siblings. Spouses had the same BMIs as thegardeners themselves, which researchers attributed to eating more fresh produce and possibly helping with garden activities.

Results have been reported online in the American Journal of Public Health.

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NUMBERS

Fighting Tobacco Saves

Healthcare Dollars

$134 Billion

Healthcare savings over 1989-2008 linked to
California’s tobacco control program

$2.4 Billion

Cost of the program

6.8 Billion

The decrease in cigarette packs sold over that span

Source: PLOS ONE

 

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