Apr 25, 2015

Both are related to wolves

Chihuahua and Great Dane: both are wolves under the skin, but who would guess it from their appearance, after a few centuries of artificial selection? 
(‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, by Richard Dawkins)

Apr 18, 2015

The Soy Debate

Asian populations have a lower incidence of hormone-related diseases, such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, and prostate cancer, than Westerners do. It has been suggested that soy consumption is one reason for this difference in disease incidence. Women who were born in Asia but migrated to the United States likewise have a lower risk of breast cancer, possibly due to their early exposure to soy. But obviously soy is only one of many factors that influence cancer risk, and now we know that it is many contributing factors that make a diet cancer-protective.

It is now clear that soy intake during adolescence, a time when breast tissue is most sensitive to environmental stimuli and carcinogenesis, may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life. Recent articles in Cancer Epidemiology and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that soy consumption during childhood and teenage years reduced the risk of breast cancer in adulthood by 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Soybeans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are plant substances that are chemically similar to estrogen and since higher estrogen levels promote breast cancer, some people predicted that soy would too. Now we know that the phytoestrogens in soy actually block the effects of the body's estrogen. Despite myths propagated on the Internet, the most recent and reliable clinical studies support a strong protective effect of minimally processed soy foods against breast cancer.

Apr 11, 2015

Global Undernourishment

Global undernourishment shouldn't exist. Each day the world's farmers produce the equivalent of 2,868 calories per person on the planet -- enough to surpass the World Food Programme's recommended intake of 2,100 daily calories and enough to support a population inching toward nine billion. The world as a whole does not have a food deficit, but individual countries do.

Why do 805 million people still have too little to eat? Access is the main problem. Incomes and commodity prices establish where food goes. The quality of roads and airports determines how easily it gets there. Even measuring undernourishment is a challenge. In countries with the highest historical proportions of undernourishment, it can be hard to get food in and data out.

Things are slowly getting better. Since the early 1990s world hunger has dropped by 40 percent -- that means 209 million fewer undernourished people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Future progress may prove difficult. "It is critical to first improve overall food production and availability in places like sub-Saharan Africa," says FAO economist Josef Schmidhuber. "Then one can focus on access." 
(Daniel Stone, National Geographic Magazine, December 2014)

Apr 3, 2015

Sources of Calcium in our diet...

Calcium in 100 calories of:
                                              mg
  • bok choy                         775
  • turnip greens                   685
  • collard greens                  539
  • tofu                                 287
  • kale                                 257
  • romaine lettuce               194
  • milk                                189
  • sesame seeds, unhulled   170
  • broccoli                           114
  • cucumber                        107
  • carrots                             81
  • cauliflower                       70
  • soybeans                         59
  • flaxseeds                         48
  • fish                                  33
  • eggs                                32
  • pork chop                         4
  • T-bone steak                    3
(‘Eat to Live’, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.)

Apr 2, 2015

1920s & 1930s: New Guinea Highlanders meet Europeans for the first time


The Europeans began expanding over the globe from AD 1492 onwards and "discovered people long before there were any airplane overflights to alert them to an outside world. The last large-scale first contacts in world history will prove to be those that took place in the New Guinea Highlands, where from the 1930s to the 1950s patrols by Australian and Dutch government and army reconnaissance expeditions, miners on prospecting trips, and biological expeditions “discovered" a million Highlanders of whose existence the outside world hadn't known and vice versa - even though Europeans had by then been visiting and settling the coasts of New Guinea for 400 years.