Here are some of the best food stories we came across this week:
- Reaping the Enormous Benefits of Our Bodies’ Microbial Garden – Much has been made of the benefits of healthy bacteria in the human gut, but research coming out is showing a wealth of over 100 trillion immune-boosting, health-supporting microbes all over the body (seriously, everywhere); this is encouraging a paradigm shift toward approaching the whole body as an ecosystem when trying to heal from an infection, rather than simply trying to kill off specific harmful bacteria.
- Get Dirty for Your Health – The fresh, local farmers market fruits and vegetables offer great nutrients, but it turns out this less-than-sterilized produce has an additional benefit for your health: The trace amounts of microorganism-rich dirt that we inadvertently ingest with the veggies and fruit help boost the immune system and support our internal bacterial ecosystem.
- Illuminating Series Explores Causes of Obesity – And it’s not necessarily what you’d expect. The nuanced web series, “The Skinny on Obesity,” includes thoughtful perspectives from University of California at San Francisco’s Dr. Robert Lustig and other experts who explore obesity as a public health issue and how it relates to the rise of preventable diseases; they also make arguments against gluttony and sloth as a simple, magic bullet cause to the pandemic.
- The Paleo vs. Vegan Diet: A Thoughtful Conversation – An interview in Experience L!fe magazine features a panel of diet and health experts who explain, contrast and compare the benefits and potential drawbacks of the Paleolithic diet and a vegan diet, with reflections on how both diets’ food cultivation and production impact the environment and the health and well-being of their followers.
- The World’s Population is 17 Million Tons Overweight – A study published by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculated the weight of the world’s population at 316 tons. The U.S. makes up 5% of the world’s population but accounts for almost one-third of the world’s obesity, while Asia, which contains 61% of the population, accounts for only 13% of global obesity. The researchers reflect on the negative impact all that additional flesh has on environmental sustainability.
Photo courtesy of Zdenko Zivkovic.