From NPR's Shots: If you've seen the horrifying pictures of famine — listless children with swollen bellies — you've seen the face of kwashiorkor. It's not the most common form of malnutrition, but it is the most deadly. It can hit a child quickly. Yet, it does not seem to affect all children equally - even those within the same family or who eat the same diet. What protects some children and not others?
Scientists are starting to think that a key may be the microbes that live in the gut, which may affect how quickly we gain weight and fight off disease.
This article outlines a new study that suggests a link between microbes and severe malnutrition.
Our Favorite Beverages in the News...
Photo: Flickr/Robert S. Donovan
Although wine has been around for nearly 8000 years, it once had all the allure of castor oil; most people only drank it as an alternative to other contaminated beverages. How and why did drinking wine change so much?
This New York Times article gives an interesting overview of a new book from Paul Lucaks, which provides a fascinating account of how wine has evolved.
To read the book:
Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World's Most Ancient Pleasures
A fungus called "coffee rust" has spread through 70% of the coffee crops of Guatemala - and has already affected the crops of other major Latin American coffee-producing countries. Since Latin America and the Caribbean produce over 2/3 of the world's coffee, this fungus may have serious economic repercussions for coffee farmers - and your own cup of coffee.
Photo: Flickr/Mick mft
Believe it or not, drinking tea was once thought of as a reckless, suspicious act, linked to revolutionary feminism. Here's why.
Did You Know...?
- Here's some interesting global and historical trivia about fruits:
- MANGO: More fresh mangoes are eaten every day than any other fruit in the world. Mangoes grow on Asian trees whose species is related to the cashew; these trees grow throughout the tropics, and a single tree may thrive and bear fruit for up to 300 years.
- POMEGRANATE: In Crete, when a bride enters her new home, the groom hands her a pomegranate. In China, a picture of a ripe, open pomegranate is a popular wedding present, expressing the wish, "May you have as many children as there are seeds!"
- LEMONS: In the third century, Romans believed that the lemon was an antidote for all poisons.
- BANANAS: Supposedly, one of the first shipments of bananas to reach the US colonies was in 1690 at Salem, Mass. They tried boiling them with pork. It took nearly 200 years after that culinary disaster for bananas to catch on with North Americans. And until the early 1800s in Hawaii, most banana varieties were 'kapu' - forbidden for women of Hawaii to eat, under penalty of death.
- APPLES: Apples float because 25% of their volume is air. China is currently the world's largest producer of apples, followed by the US. Apples were introduced to New York by the European settlers who brought seeds with them in the 1600s.
- ORANGES: In Queen Victoria's day, oranges were given as Christmas gifts in England. Today, Brazil produces more oranges than any other country.
- Source: Adapted from Foodreference.com
From Flavorwire: Here’s a clever idea for a photo project: Travel across the globe and ask the grandmothers who you meet along the way to prepare their favorite dish for you. In his series Gabriele Galimberti does just that., Italian photographer
From caterpillars in tomato sauce in Malawi to a ten-spice-curry in India, click through to check out the photos of what he ate, and then visit his website to find recipes for every dish.