Food News Today Transcripts for the week of April 29th, 2012

May 04, 2012

New findings for brain health, is social media right for all brands? And are food pantry volunteers now farmers?

Good morning, Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting, and unbiased food news.

Eating a  s, whole grains, legumes and quality proteins is something we know is great for our health, but a new study found that specifically, a diet rich in certain vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and low in trans fats may be best for brain health. The study published in the journal Neurology found that older people who ate this way had less of the brain shrinkage linked with Alzheimer's and scored better on mental and thinking tests than those with poorer diets.

Researchers examined 1,575 dementia-free men and women whose average age was 87. The researchers analyzed the fatty acids of the subjects’ red blood cells, as well as M.R.I. scans to measure brain volume and other markers. Results demonstrated that diet represented about 37% of the variation in brain volume, versus other risk factors explaining about another 40%.  Now that’s pretty significant!

According to study author Gene L. Bowman, ND, MPH, assistant professor of neurology at the Layton Aging & Alzheimer's Disease Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, “the combination of the B vitamins, the antioxidants C and E, plus vitamin D was the most favorable combination of nutrients in the blood for healthy brain aging in our population.”  

Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, were also good for brain health.  Most unfavorable, was a diet high in trans fats. Eating more fruits and vegetables, fatty fish and avoiding trans fats is the way to go!

>Next up we have Wes Crnkovich from Plan B advertising agency to discuss how food brands can use social media appropriately and effectively drive business, here’s what Wes had to say…

>Next up we head to Brooklyn, the eye of the urban farming craze. Grow-your-own is going strong, from rooftop gardens and bee keeping to massive plantings at public high schools and now, a Bedford-Stuyvesant food pantry has built an indoor farm where clients can help grow fresh produce year-round — and provide vegetables for hundreds of families a week who visit the pantry.

Mireille Massac, who runs the food pantry and farm at Child Development Support Corp., commented, “People feel very passionate about this farm; they’re eating better and learning hydroponic growing techniques that don’t require sunlight or soil.”  Kids are also eating better and enjoying it.

The farm has pantry clients making changes to their eating habits, Massac said: “They come with a different attitude; it’s all about healthy eating.” Volunteer clients harvest on Thursday mornings, minutes before the pantry opens. Workshops on how to grow greens hydroponically are offered, providing the community with much more than just fresh veggies, but skills to take home as well.

The lush 250 square food pantry farm located in a ground-floor space has been producing food since last May.  The trend is growing.  Several other pantry managers in Brooklyn, Queens and the South Bronx are in talks about finding funding to try out hydroponics.