Leafy Greens Have Circadian Rhythms, Too

Photo: thebittenword.com Just like humans, plants respond biologically to the cycle of days and nights, called circadian rhythms. Now, a team of biologists has discovered that even after produce has reached the grocery store, it benefits from cycles of daytime and nighttime lighting.

As reported by Popular Science, the biologists experimented on a member of the mustard seed family, which includes cabbage. They exposed the plants to 12-hour periods of lightness and darkness, and found that they produced a compound called glucosinolates during the simulated daytime.

They repeated the same experiment with circles of cabbage leaf cut from the plant, and discovered that they still produced the glucosinolates during the light periods. And, compared to circles of cabbage leaf that were exposed to all lightness, or all darkness, those exposed to the 12-hour alternating periods were least-eaten by caterpillars-- and glucosinolates are a natural insect repeller.

In addition to warding off caterpillars, glucosinolates may be healthy for consumers. Some preliminary research shows that they could be partially responsible for lower rates of cancer in people who eat lots of cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage and broccoli).

The New Effects of Flax-Fed Beef

flaxseed, beef, science, eating, food It's hard to keep up with today's food trends, fads, diets, and constant chef news. New topics are coming up everyday about the foods we consume and it's hard to keep up. Staying healthy is another important topic of conversation and the foods we consume all play a part in this ongoing conversation. Beef has been a "hot button" topic of conversation for some years now, everyone from the NYTimes to vegetarians are talking about whether beef is a good choice. Jim Drouillard, professor of animal science and industry at Kansas State University believes that everyone can benefit from the health food flaxseed, even cows.

Flax seeds, which have high levels of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids help protect against Alzheimers, heart disease and cancer, and with his experiment going over 10 years, beef producing cattle can also benefit from the Omega 3. Experiments show that 5 months before slaughter, cows that were feed flax seed in their feed had reduced inflammation, the need for antibiotics and an offset of negative effects from a corn feed diet according to a recent article from NPR.org food blog, The Salt. 

Omega 3 is found in salmon, tuna, and walnuts just to name a few but with fish and nut allergies and  the like, beef maybe the better option for consuming flax seed. The flax feed cows have benefits beyond the pastures. The cows are healthier and there is minimal-to-no need for harmful antibiotics which is also causing a debate in the foods that we consume, all the while adding Omega 3 and fiber to the consumer diet. Although now widely available to all markets, the news of flax-fed cows has spread to Europe and diners and animal researcher alike are welcoming flaxseed with open arms.

Do you think flax feed cows will make for better and healthier beef consumption? 

Read more beef and health related stories along with recipes:

Home Grocery Delivery and the Environment

grocery, produce, food, delivery With the advanced continuation of modern technology and the boom of more and more businesses offering home delivery services for convience, its really nothing that you can't get sent to your home. Everything from clothes, appliances, and even supplies for your pet, the need to go out and shop has now been narrowed down to three clicks for overnight shipping. Specialty and artisan foods have been available online for years and you can order your favorite savory or sweet imports and have them just in time for your dinner party Saturday night. But what if you can order every fresh ingredient you can find in the grocery store and have it delivered right to your door?  This option may become a way of life, according to an article post on The Salt, NPR's food blog.  

Grocery home delivery may now be the new thing to do, and also a great way to help the environment. Food delivery along with shared transportation can cut carbon dioxide emissions by half, compared to having a human household get in a car and driving to the store. According to the article, ordering your groceries online and using the delivery system of shared transportation, the deliveries are clustered according to neighborhoods and delivered along delivery routes. The clustered routes produce 90% less CO2 emission, and also allows the convience of not having to pick up your groceries. This also encourages an abundance of community - supported agriculture.

Although not available yet in all cities, the home grocery delivery concept will be the future of food. With the ongoing popularity of farmers markets, new restaurants and celebrity chefs branching out into several different communities, it has never been easier to enjoy fresh delicious food.

Would you use the home grocery delivery system? Let us know by Tweeting @MarcusCooks

Can Diet Alone Cut the Risk for Heart Disease?

An interesting study reported on by the New York Times reveals solid evidence that a Mediterranean Diet can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease. People that are considered at "high risk" for heart disease can cut their chances by 30 percent if they follow a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruit, vegetables...and even a daily glass of wine.

Risk factors for heart disease include those who are overweight, smokers, or diabetic. This study is considered a breakthrough, because although lower rates of heart disease are found in Mediterranean countries, it has not been scientifically proven, until now, that diet was the main factor. Scientists in Spain randomly assigned 7,447 people that were considered high risk for heart disease, and assigned them to follow the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. Here were the stipulations of the Mediterranean Diet:

"One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least 4 four tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup — a generous handful. The mainstays of the diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables. Participants were to eat fish at least three times a week and legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, at least three times a week. They were to eat white meat instead of red, and, for those accustomed to drinking, to have at least seven glasses of wine a week with meals".

The findings demonstrated that the low-fat diet was hard to maintain and non-effective in cutting the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death due to heart disease.  Cheer's to enjoying that glass of wine with dinner every night!

Here are links to some of our favorite Mediterranean Diet-inspired dishes:

Sneak Peek: Red Rooster at Super Duper

Artisan food. Samples galore. Salsa, rye bread, stone ground chocolate and Red Rooster red velvet danishes.

It must be the start of a tasty weekend in Chelsea at the Super Duper Market.

Come on down to visit the Red Rooster booth all weekend starting today from 11:00-4:00 pm at 410 West 16th St.

Photos: Diana Tsuchida