Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's the name of the big plant that stinks?

Hmm...I think you are referring to the Corpse Lily (Amorphophallus titanum). It has a very large flower and smells like well, rotting flesh. The smell helps attract pollinators.

What are the main differences between a Neandertals and humans today?

Neandertals are a separate species from Homo sapiens, Neandertals were around during the Stone Age but are now extinct. Their bodies were shorter and stouter than those of modern people. Their inner-ear canals were smaller, too, which would have affected their balance.

The new study "provides a new line of evidence that Neandertals were not as adept at long-distance running as modern humans were” (Science News online, 2/22/11). But did have great strength in their arms and hands. Their brain size was thought to be equal to humans today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How many carrots do you need to eat to turn orange?

It would take a lot of carrots to turn your skin yellow/orange. It appears that the carotene is best absorbed if the dark green and orange foods are cookied, pureed or mashed. This breaks open the membranes of the plant cells and makes the carotene more absorbable. Foods known to cause carotenemias include, green beans, supplements,
papaya, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce,squash, apples, peaches, prunes, tomatoes, yams, butter, eggyolks, milk, and yellow corn.

I found one case study of a 32 year old female who had yellow discoloration of her skin and she was eating a dozen oranges every day along with greens and sweet potatoes. After she modified her diet the skin reverted back to her normal color.

Source:Indian J Dermatol 54; Supplement, January-March 2009

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Why do some states have more obese people that others?

Some of the regional differences in the obesity rate may relate to popular foods that are frequently eaten by people in different areas like corn dogs and frito pie here in Texas. But, activity also plays a part in the obesity rate. A recent study by the Center for Disease Control showed that obesity in different areas correlates with the activity level.

These states recorded the least physical activity: Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

States that reported the highest levels of physical activity were California, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Four of the five least-active counties in the USA are in Kentucky, report the researchers, and four of the five most active are in Colorado — including Boulder County, known for its outdoor sports culture and bike-friendly communities.

Source:USA Today 2/17/11

Are there some states with a higher rate of obesity than others?

There appears to be a higher percentage of obesity in the southern and midwestern United States. The biggest percentages of fat adults — those 21 and older — live in the South (28.4%) and Midwest (28.2%), compared with 24% in both the Northeast and the West.

Overall, non-Hispanic black women and Hispanics have the highest rates of obesity — 41.9% and 30.7%, respectively. Among states, Mississippi had the highest rate, 34%. Joining it in the over-30 crowd were Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Only Colorado and the District of Columbia had adult obesity rates lower than 20%. CDC official William Dietz attributed Colorado's relative thinness to its mountain altitudes — which require more exertion — and its "culture of physical activity." D.C. is "more of a mystery," he said. "It may have to do with the city's higher rates of breast feeding and consumption of fruits and vegetables."

Source: USA Today 8/3/10

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Will Eating in The Middle of the Night Cause Me to Gain Weight?

A pound of weight is equal to 3,500 extra calories, whether you eat them before 7 a.m. or after 1 a.m.

When we snack late at night or in the middle of the night we're typically not reaching for celery sticks. We're often snacking on junk food like ice cream and chips. That, of course, can cause weight gain no matter when you do it.

Read more:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Causes a Migraine?

According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines may be caused by changes in the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway. Imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin — which helps regulate pain in your nervous system — also may be involved.

In addition to serotonin, some foods seem to serve as triggers for a migraine headache. Common offenders include alcohol, especially beer and red wine; aged cheeses; chocolate; aspartame; overuse of caffeine; monosodium glutamate — a key ingredient in some Asian foods; salty foods; and processed foods. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger migraines.

It appears that migraine triggers are as unique as the individual suffering from them as stress, bright lights, barometric changes and hormones can also cause migraines to develop.


Does Butter Get Moldy?

Since mold spores are transported by air, water and insects it is possible that butter may serve as a new home for this microscopic fungi. Usually it is safe to keep butter out at room temperature for 24-48 hours however a warm and humid room will increase the chance that your butter will mold.

Source: USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

Will Storing Batteries in the Freezer Make Them Last Longer?

If you are talking about alkaline batteries the answer is no. If you store them at a temperature less than 85 degrees than freezing provides very little advantage.

But, batteries do lose their power faster as the temperature increases so in a hot climate you could lose as much as 25% of their power in a one year period. In this situation it is advantageous to store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Stats on Obesity

The obesity rate worldwide has roughly doubled in the past three decades, hitting 9.8 percent for men and 13.8 percent for women in 2008, an international team of researchers reports online February 3 in the Lancet.

Pacific Island nations collectively recorded the highest average weight. Among high-income countries, the United States ranked heaviest, followed by New Zealand.
Japan and Singapore weigh the least. Bangladesh women weighed least among their gender, as did men in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Among European females, Swiss women were the thinnest. —Nathan Seppa

Source: Science News, February 3, 2011

What is more important in weight loss carbs, calories, or fat?

Great question and a very confusing one for anyone who has contemplated weight loss. The science behind weight loss is the same now as 100 years ago - if you take in too many calories of any type, your body will store them as fat and the scale will go up. Likewise, take in less calories than you burn and you lose weight.

Now for the tricky part; your body needs not just calories, fat and carbs but a balance of all nutrients including protein and water. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lower fat diary products and lean meats will ensure your nutrient needs are met in a lower amount of calories. Add regular exercise to this equation and you have the perfect "recipe" for weight loss.

Not a very exciting answer given all of the weight loss items on the market but still the best one.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Can you get sick from kissing your dog?

Humans and dogs have different bacteria in their mouths. So it isn't necessarily true that you will get sick from kissing your dog since many bacteria and viruses are species specific.

However, in a research article published in the February 2011 edition of Emerging Infectious Disease, Drs. Chomel and Sun note that people are "sharing their environments with pets, allowing them in their beds, and kissing them like crazy. They need to know that a risk does exist” from bacteria that live in the mouths of felines and canines.