Foods acting like addictive drugs in the brain, tips for your turkey day and can probiotics make us happy? For Today November 16th 2011, this is Food News Today.
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Hey did you know that today is National Fast Food Day? Well maybe- just maybe- you have an excuse to eat fast food today.. but on no other day of the year! Today in 1620, the first corn (maize) was supposedly discovered (by European settlers) while exploring the area near Provincetown, Massachusetts - they subsequently named the spot Corn Hill. Do you have any food fun fact you'd like to share? Let me know. For more interesting and fun food tidbits check out www.foodreference.com.
And I know you have all been waiting to hear who the winner of our Halloween Contest is for this year… We had a lot of great entries this year, but the winner is Courtney L Hamme-Henry for her daughter Carrington's cupcake costume. Congrats! (Try saying that 3 times fast.) You just won an ipad 2 and a supermarketguru tote bag. We will also contact the 5 runners up via e-mail and let them know as well. That was a lot of fun. You'd better start thinking of your food related Halloween costume for next year! It's only 349 days away…
>From Halloween to Thanksgiving we go… Year-round outdoor cooking is on the rise and it even applies to the Thanksgiving meal. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association 2011 State of the Barbecue Industry report, 15 percent are cooking part of their Thanksgiving meals outside.
The National Turkey Federation, estimates that 46 million turkeys are being cooked this holiday season and has some tips for preparation and safety.
Purchase a whole turkey according to the weight recommendations in your grill, smoker or fryer’s manual. Thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry. Cook the bird un-stuffed. Brine the turkey for increased flavor and moisture. Outdoor cooking times depend on many factors: the size and shape of the turkey, the distance from the heat and the outside air temperature - allow more time on cold or windy days and at high altitudes, and allow less time in very hot weather.
Have a food thermometer handy to measure the internal temperature of the bird; the temperature should be 165 degrees F, but most people prefer it to reach 170 degrees F in the breast and 180 degrees F in the thigh.
Stay Safe! Check to make sure your grill, smoker or fryer is in working order and review and read the owner's manual for safety precautions. Be sure to use the grill, smoker or fryer outside only – never indoors – and make sure that it's set-up on a flat, stable surface, preferably on a protective grill pad, and away from any combustible materials.
Gobble Gobble! I can’t wait for Thanksgiving this year!
>Are you anxious about the all of the holidays this year, not just Thanksgiving. Well this feeling could be more to do with the bacteria in your gut than the actual holiday season. A recent study from the University College Cork in Cork, Ireland found that good digestive health may help to regulate and reduce stress in the brain. The study observed potential probiotics’ affect on the brain function of mice, and found that the presence of certain bacteria in the gut altered behaviors relevant to anxiety, depression and stress. There is increasing evidence revolving around what is now being called the microbiome-gut-brain axis, suggesting an interaction between the intestinal microflora (the good bacteria in your gut) and the central nervous system. The research is important considering the existing, known relationships between gastrointestinal disorders and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Researchers found that after a few weeks of being on the diet, the mice were more relaxed than their placebo-treated counterparts. Researchers say they even saw changes in the chemical make up of the brain. Some of the reactions were so robust that they mimicked the reaction one could receive from an acute injection of Valium®. The question everyone is now asking, from retailers to consumers, is should we be eating more yogurt? - it’s too early to take that leap. And while the research opens up a myriad of possibilities, fundamental studies are needed to back up any such potential claims about foods we eat and their effects on our brains.
>Have you heard the rumors regarding the addictive nature of processed foods and sugary drinks? Well the talk isn’t just rumors, it’s based on hard science. In fact, in the past year around twenty-eight scientific studies and papers have focused on food addiction and the results are shocking researchers, and leaving the food industry in a state of disbelief.
The bulk of the research conducted at leading universities and government laboratories on the topic, suggests that processed foods and sugary drinks aren’t simply unhealthy, but are seriously addictive. Some studies have shown strong similarities with the way in which the brain reacts to drug addictions such as cocaine. In a comment to Bloomberg.com, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse said, “the data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it. We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”
Researchers are beginning to believe that consuming large quantities of processed foods may be changing the “wiring” in our brains. Controlled lab studies have found that sugary drinks and fatty foods produce addictive behaviors in animals. David Ludwig, professor at both Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health explains that, “highly processed foods may cause rapid spikes and declines in blood sugar, increasing cravings” – and alternating feelings of sluggishness and pleasure. The roller coaster that many feel from meal to meal fuels the desire for processed foods, which temporarily leave us in a pleasurable state. Education, diets and drugs to treat obesity have proven largely ineffective and this new science may explain why. Unless Americans switch to a fresh whole foods diet, it’s highly unlikely we’ll be able to break the cycle and reverse the obesity crisis anytime soon.
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