Uncategorized Archives - Herbs Info

Category: Uncategorized

Science: People Eat More Veggies If They Are Renamed With Exciting Names

Science - People Eat More Veggies If They Are Renamed With Exciting Names
Photo – congerdesign – pixabay.com

Researchers from Cornell University devised a way to make vegetables accessible to kids. Kids are notoriously known for being vegetable haters. They introduced fun monikers for veggies in elementary school cafeterias to make the greens more attractive to schoolchildren. According to the research, students’ consumption of vegetables doubled when they gave the food items names such as X-Ray Vision Carrots, Silly Dilly Green Beans, Power Punch Broccoli, or Tiny Tasty Tree Tops. The study’s findings first appeared in the Journal of Preventive Medicine. [1] The Cornell study provided a simple and low-cost solution for schools to improve the diets of schoolchildren.

It was then found that the same experiment worked on adults, too. This same approach was applied by a team of researchers at Stanford University that ran a simple experiment in their own canteen. They used appealing descriptors to vegetable dishes on the menu and observed an increase in sales when indulgent labels were used. This research suggests the link between positive eating experience and healthy food choices.

During the study, the researchers labeled a vegetable each day in one of four ways – basic, healthy but restrictive, healthy and positive, and indulgent. Some of the vegetables they used for the study were beets, green beans, and carrots:

Basic – Beets – Green Beans – Carrots

Healthy But Restrictive – Lighter Choice Beets With No Added Sugar – Light ‘N’ Low Low-Carb Beans and Shallots – Carrots With Sugar-Free Citrus Dressing

Healthy And Positive – High-Antioxidant Beets – Energy-Boosting Green Beans and Shallots – Smart-Choice Vitamin C Citrus Carrots

Indulgent – Dynamite Chili and Tangy Lime-Seasoned Beets – Sweet Sizzlin’ Green Beans and Crispy Shallots – Twisted Citrus-Glazed Carrots

The Stanford team confirmed the power of words. They found that foods with indulgent labeling registered 25% increase in sales compared to vegetables with basic names. The veggies with crazy tags sold 41% and 35% more than those with healthy restrictive labeling and healthy positive labeling, respectively. They published their findings in a research letter in the June 13, 2017 edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. [2]

The Cornell and Stanford findings are not the first to suggest the value of simple psychology to improving the diets of people. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported on a study that used pictured carrots and green beans on lunch trays to help students pick and eat their vegetables. The study offered another low-cost measure to increasing vegetable consumption of kids at school. [3]

Eating vegetables has always been associated with good health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests the importance of vegetables as part of our main food group together with whole grains, protein, fruit, and dairy. Vegetables are good sources of fiber and potassium and are also rich in phytochemicals, calcium, and vitamin D. [4]

There are other ways to turn picky eaters into veggie lovers. Here are the do’s for establishing healthy relationships toward food and vegetables specifically.

•• Serve vegetables first, followed by grains, protein, and dairy. Fruits should be enjoyed as desserts.
•• Incorporate veggies into snacks to make them vitamin and nutrient packed.
•• Add vegetables to your breakfast such as tomatoes, green bell pepper, or onions.
•• Include vegetables to other foods that will not make you taste veggies such as kale to smoothies or onions to your omelet.
•• Pair a veggie with your favorite proteins such as chicken, salmon, or steak.

Here are some of the vegetables that are considered the most healthy:

•bok choy
•collard greens
•romaine lettuce
•brussels sprouts
•green peppers
•acorn squash
•butternut squash
•red peppers

Further Reading:

10 Super Green Foods To Eat Every Day

Amazing Health Benefits Of 20 Fruits And Vegetables


[1] Rachel Tepper. September 17, 2012. Renaming Fruits And Vegetables With Catchy Names Convinces Kids To Eat Them, Study Says. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/17/renaming-fruits-and-vegetables_n_1891562.html

[2] Turnwald BP et al. 2017. Association Between Indulgent Descriptions and Vegetable Consumption: Twisted Carrots and Dynamite Beets. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2630753

[3] Reicks M et al. 2012. Photographs in Lunch Tray Compartments and Vegetable Consumption Among Children in Elementary School Cafeterias. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1355987

[4] Joanne L. Slavin and Beate Lloyd. July 2012. Advances in Nutrition. Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/

Report: Your Macaroni And Cheese May Contain Harmful Chemicals Like Plastic

Report - Your Macaroni And Cheese May Contain Harmful Chemicals Like Plastic
image © Pink Sherbet Photography – Wikipedia – lic. under CC BY 2.0

Macaroni and cheese is one of the most popular dishes in the world – but it’s especially loved in the USA. In fact, one-third of the U.S. population consumes the pasta meal at least once in any given 12-week period. Mac and cheese has remained on the list of America’s top ten comfort foods.

It’s therefore no surprise that food manufacturers have offered quick-and-easy versions which cut down on preparation time. The first boxed version of the food was introduced by Kraft in 1937. It sold an impressive nine million boxes during its first year and the Kraft Mac and Cheese is still being patronized by one million buyers every day.

However, this popularity might be affected by a July 2017 article published in The New York Times. [1] The NYT reported on a new scientific study carried out by an independent laboratory under the commission of environmental advocacy groups.

The researchers found high concentrations of toxic chemicals called phthalates in various cheese products. Phthalates are not deliberately added to food but can migrate into food products from the plastic packaging during processing, packaging, and preparation. Macaroni & cheese powder had the highest phthalates in products tested. [2] These potentially harmful chemicals had been banned from children’s teething rings and rubber duck toys a decade ago due to their link to genital birth defects in infant boys and learning and behavior problems in older children. They also pose a risk to pregnant women and young children.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2014 report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended the banning of phthalates or combinations of phthalates in children’s toys and childcare articles. The report warned that food, drugs, and beverages were the primary source of exposure to the toxic chemicals. [3]

•Twenty-nine out of thirty varieties of cheese products researched contain phthalates, with ten different phthalates identified. Macaroni and cheese powder samples contain higher phthalates levels than blocks and other natural cheese. DEHP, the most restricted phthalate, was found most often in the highest amounts!

The investigation was prompted by a study published in the journal Environmental Health that identified dairy products as the greatest source of dietary exposure to DEHP for American infants, adolescents, and women of reproductive age. This study proposed further research to develop methods to reduce dietary phthalate exposures. [4]

The Flemish Institute for Technological Research in Belgium conducted the testing of cheese product items which represent several varieties and brands. Also included in the test were certified organic and conventional dairy products. The laboratory used validated test methods and quality control measures designed by a 2012 study reported in the journal Food and Chemical Technology. [5]

The Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging, an advocacy organization, funded the study which is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Health experts warned that the study’s findings should not be sensationalized, but they believe that the data presented offers another leaf on the link between hormone-disrupting chemicals and human health.

Despite the findings, the Kraft Heinz Company assures consumers that their products do not have phthalates. They stress that their products remain safe for consumers to enjoy.

Those who believe the scientific report could try making mac and cheese from scratch. Homemade mac and cheese is easy and is widely regarded to taste so much better.


[1] Roni Caryn Rabin. July 12, 2017. The Chemicals in Your Mac and Cheese. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/well/eat/the-chemicals-in-your-mac-and-cheese.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

[2] Testing Finds Industrial Chemical Phthalates in Cheese. http://kleanupkraft.org/data-summary.pdf

[3] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. July 2014. Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/CHAP-REPORT-With-Appendices.pdf

[4] Serrano SE et al. June 2, 2014. Phthalates and diet: a review of the food monitoring and epidemiology data. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-069X-13-43

[5] Fierens T et al. July 2012. Analysis of phthalates in food products and packaging materials sold on the Belgian market. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512003134?via%3Dihub

New Study Finds Poor Sleep May Worsen Suicidal Thoughts

New Study Finds Poor Sleep May Worsen Suicidal Thoughts
Photo © Kittiphan – fotolia.com

For more than a century, medical experts have been studying the relationship between disturbed sleep, mental disorders, and suicide. Almost 75 percent of clinically depressed people struggle with sleep, according to a 2008 study published in the medical journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. The study explored the mechanisms of sleep regulation and their influence on depression. [1]

Poor sleep is a well-known risk factor for suicide, regardless of cultures or age groups. This has been proven once again by a new study conducted by researchers from Stanford University Medical School. The research highlights the importance of sleep problems in providing clues about the psychological state of at-risk young adults. It also underscored the need to treat insomnia to help improve the emotional well-being of individuals. [2]

First published online on June 28, 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the study linked insomnia and nightmare with students who experience significant variation in how long it takes them to fell asleep. It also posited both the above sleep problems as predictors of suicidal behaviors. It stressed the importance of awareness of the relationship between sleep disturbances and suicidal ideation.

Researchers focused on fifty university students aged 18 to 23. They monitored the sleep of the students who all had a history of suicide attempts or recent thoughts of suicide or suicide ideation. As the study progressed, the researchers observed the worsening suicidal thoughts of students who had sleep problems.

The association between sleep problems and increased risk of suicidal thoughts persisted even if other factors were considered including the level of depression, alcohol, and drug use. According to lead author and suicidologist Rebecca Bernert, there are underlying biological, psychological and social risk factors that interact with suicide. Bernert and colleagues insisted that they could use sleep disturbances as an important treatment target in suicide prevention.

Bernert is one of the leading researchers in neuropsychiatric disorders. In 2007, she co-authored a study on the relationship between sleep disturbances and suicidal ideation and behaviors. This study also posited the value of disturbances in sleep as a clinical target for future suicide intervention efforts. [3]

The possible role of sleep disturbance in suicidal behavior is a widely-explored topic in the medical community. Several other sleep studies have correlated the subjective quality of sleep with suicidal patients. A 2014 study reported in Annals of Clinical Psychiatry attributed the possible association between suicide and sleep to serotonin, which was found to be low in patients who attempted suicide or completed suicide. [4] Serotonin is a chemical produced by the body that works as a neurotransmitter.

Back in 2013, another study forwarded the link between insomnia and a very specific type of hopelessness which is a powerful predictor of suicide. This work raised a red flag about suicide risk and advised physicians to determine if their patients who are experiencing increased sleep problems are having suicidal thoughts. [5]

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that one in three American adults is not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. The health agency advises adults aged 18-60 years old to sleep at least seven hours each night to avoid increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and mental distress. [6]

Further Reading:

7 Serious Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation Plus 5 Natural Tips For Better Sleep


[1] Nutt D et al. September 2008. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181883/

[2] Robert Preidt. June 28, 2017. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Poor Sleep May Worsen Suicidal Thoughts. https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166928.html

[3] Rebecca A. Bernert and Thomas E. Joiner. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. Sleep disturbances and suicide risk: A review of the literature. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656315/

[4] Ravi Kumar Singareddy and Richard Balon. December 4, 2011. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. Sleep and Suicide in Psychiatric Patients. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10401230109148954

[5] McCall WV et al. 2013. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Nightmares and dysfunctional beliefs about sleep mediate the effect of insomnia symptoms on suicidal ideation. http://www.aasmnet.org/jcsm/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=28819

[6] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html