DIY Plant Science: Grow Your Own Purple Carrots in 10 Steps

Last month we wrote about how plant scientists are developing these colorful new varieties of vegetables that contain different cancer-preventing phytochemicals.10520568_s

For the article, I spoke with Philip Simon, PhD from the University of Wisconsin who first introduced the anthocyanin-packed purple carrot in 1992. One of the best things I learned from my talk with Dr. Simon is that with a little bit of time and patience we can recreate the process at home! This can be a great activity for kids and adults alike.

The first step in the plant breeding process is to get the vegetables to flower. For most vegetables such as peppers or squash, flowers are the norm (think, stuffed squash blossoms). For carrots and other root vegetables, flowering is a bit more involved. They only flower after being exposed to cold. So, here’s what you do:

Step 1: Buy a bunch of carrots with the green tops on; chose both purple and orange.

Step 2: Cut off the tops of the greens leaving about an inch of green stem Continue reading

For Kids, Short Walking Breaks May Improve Health

If you’re a reader of health news, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about the research looking at how office walking breaks can help your health. Now comes a small study suggesting that those breaks may also improve kids’ long-term metabolic health, which may lower their risk for adult cancers decades later.37324435_s

The study found that children who break up their sitting with three minutes of walking every half hour had lower levels of blood glucose and insulin, compared to when they remained seated for three hours. It was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. High blood glucose and insulin are risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that also links to increased cancer risk among adults.

According to government data, more than one third of children and teens are overweight or obese. Kids who are overweight are more likely to be overweight adults, and excess body fat among adults is a cause of ten cancers.

The study included 28 healthy, normal-weight children who were assigned to one of two groups. Children in the first group remained sitting for three hours where they watched Continue reading

Where you eat matters for your health… sort of

In the last week, how many of your meals did you make at home? As our lives get busier and busier, more of us are choosing to eat food away from home and that might play a role in weight gain, suggests a new study. And that in turn could lead to increased cancer risk.

From 1970 to 2012, the percent of food budget Americans spent on food at restaurants, school, work, etc increased from 26% to 43%.

Source: Unites States Department of Agriculture

Fast Food vs Full Service Restaurants

From 2007-2011 US adults consumed an average of 11% of daily calories from fast food. Although there has been a lot of focus put on fast food, we have been increasing our intake from full service restaurants as well. Continue reading