I don’t know of any resource which analyzes every single weed out there for nutrients, calories, etc.
However it seems weeds could be a good addition to one’s diet.
And a great addition to the urban garden.
If a farmer told you not to pull a weed, would you be worried about him? Maybe you’d insist he get out of the heat and drink some water, or take a vacation.
Believe it or not, that farmer may have good reason to protect his weeds.
In the middle of July 2012, the costliest drought in recorded history had Nebraska in its grip. Not a sprinkle of rain had fallen on Ross Brockley’s farm since June 4, and wouldn’t again until July 31. His half-dozen acres of vegetable gardens were green thanks only to constant watering by hand and diligent weeding performed by Brockley, his wife, Barb, and me, his lone farmhand.
Here in the southeast corner of the state, residents had spent their summer watching scorched soil crack and fields of crops turn brown. On this particular day I noticed a very healthy plant in an empty garden bed. It didn’t resemble anything I recognized as food so I pulled it up.
Even amid the dead stalks of drought-stricken corn, purslane was defiantly rearing its little red branches.
“Don’t do that!” Brockley yelped from across the garden. “I’m saving it,” he said sternly. “We’ll eat that.”
The plant looked like a bundle of long red worms, each with several green oval-shaped cartoon ears. It looked more like something suited for a compost pile than a cultivated garden. This drought had clearly taken a toll on Brockley’s mental state.
He picked up the plant I had just discarded, broke off two stems, and put one in his mouth. He held the other in front of my face, indicating that I was to follow his lead.
“It’s purslane,” he said as he chewed, “and it’s primo!”
I hesitantly took a bite and chewed it slowly. “Peppery,” I thought. The crunch felt like a snap pea with the skin of an apple. Then came a blast of citrus flavor. I would have told Brockley that I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt his obvious state of food bliss. I simply looked on as he finished eating the entire plant…
Kay Young is a local legend among plant people. In 1993, she authored Wild Seasons: Gathering and Cooking Wild Plants of the Great Plains, and has been active in Lincoln’s gardening community for decades. The 82-year-old has dedicated her life to local folklore, horticulture, and ethnobotany. A quick tour of her backyard revealed a variety of nurtured plants that one would expect to see in a yard-waste bin…
“If you make a sandwich with mayonnaise or salad dressing, it doesn’t get wimpy the way lettuce does,” she said of purslane’s hardy leaves. “And in the summer, when the lettuce is getting bitter, purslane is still just wonderful.”..
A study by the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C., states that purslane is the “richest source of omega-3 fatty acids of any green leafy vegetable yet examined.”
“Purslane comes from India, where it was a food crop centuries ago. It was Gandhi’s favorite food. Now it also grows across America, and around the world.”
- Tough and Tasty: Recasting a Resilient Weed as a Wild Edible (science.kqed.org)
- Purslane – Weed It or Eat It? (oshkoshfoodcoop.com)
- Purslane: A Prolific Prepper Powerhouse (survivalsherpa.wordpress.com)
- Renewed interest in wild edibles (greenreview.blogspot.com)
- Foraging: 52 Wild Plants You Can Eat (realfarmacy.com)
- Delicious, edible weeds (palexrs.wordpress.com)
- Smart Organic Horticulture Ideas For A Healthier Garden! (diariesofarealtor.wordpress.com)
- One person’s weed… (unexpectedincommonhours.wordpress.com)
- Wild Edibles: Dandelion (wisewildflower.wordpress.com)
Diets Lacking Omega-3s Lead to Anxiety, Hyperactivity in Teens: Generational Omega-3 Deficiencies Have Worsening Effects Over Time
Diets lacking omega-3 fatty acids — found in foods like wild fish, some eggs, and grass-fed livestock — can have worsened effects over consecutive generations, especially affecting teens, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.
“We found that this dietary deficiency can compromise the behavioral health of adolescents, not only because their diet is deficient but because their parents’ diet was deficient as well. This is of particular concern because adolescence is a very vulnerable time for developing psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and addiction.”Diets lacking omega-3 fatty acids — found in foods like wild fish, eggs, and grass-fed livestock — can have worsened effects over consecutive generations, especially affecting teens, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.
“Our study shows that, while the omega-3 deficiency influences the behavior of both adults and adolescents, the nature of this influence is different between the age groups,” said Moghaddam. “We observed changes in areas of the brain responsible for decision making and habit formation.”
The team is now exploring epigenetics as a potential cause. This is a process in which environmental events influence genetic information. Likewise, the team is exploring markers of inflammation in the brain since omega-3 deficiencies causes an increase of omega-6 fats, which are proinflammatory molecules in the brain and other tissues.
“It’s remarkable that a relatively common dietary change can have generational effects,” said Moghaddam. “It indicates that our diet does not merely affect us in the short-term but also can affect our offspring.”
- University of Pittsburgh study links dietary deficiency to anxiety, hyperactivity, learning problems in adolescents (triblive.com)
- Most Children and Adults Have ‘Nutrition Gap’ in Omega-3 Fatty Acids (familyhealthnewsonline.com)
- Most Children And Adults Have A “Nutrition Gap” In Omega-3 Fatty Acids Despite Documented Health Benefits (medicalnewstoday.com)
Attention, college students cramming between midterms and finals: Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid.
A new UCLA rat study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning – and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology has published the findings.
“Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. “Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage.” …
Gomez-Pinilla, a native of Chile and an exercise enthusiast who practices what he preaches, advises people to keep fructose intake to a minimum and swap sugary desserts for fresh berries and Greek yogurt, which he keeps within arm’s reach in a small refrigerator in his office. An occasional bar of dark chocolate that hasn’t been processed with a lot of extra sweetener is fine too, he said.
Still planning to throw caution to the wind and indulge in a hot-fudge sundae? Then also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, or take a daily DHA capsule. Gomez-Pinilla recommends one gram of DHA per day.
“Our findings suggest that consuming DHA regularly protects the brain against fructose’s harmful effects,” said Gomez-Pinilla. “It’s like saving money in the bank. You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel to fight off future diseases.”
- High-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory (artofthestem.com)
- Study in Rats Shows High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, Memory (optimumnutrition.wordpress.com)
- Sugar might make you stupid (thesciencebulletin.wordpress.com)
- Sugar Makes You Stupid: Study Shows High Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning and Memory (neurosciencenews.com)
Potential market for savory, fish-oil fortified yogurts reported in the Journal of Dairy Science
From the 28 March 2012 article at Eureka news alert
Amsterdam, The Netherlands — Many consumers want to increase their intake of heart-healthy n-3 fatty acids, found naturally in fish and fish products, but find it difficult to consume the levels recommended by the American Heart Association. Scientists at Virginia Tech have demonstrated that it may be possible to achieve the suggested daily intake in a single serving of a savory-flavored yogurt, providing an easily incorporated dietary source for these valuable fatty acids. Their work is detailed in the April issue of the Journal of Dairy Science®.
“The international popularity of yogurt and the health-promoting properties associated with probiotics, minerals, vitamins, and milk proteins suggest yogurt could be an excellent vehicle for the delivery of n-3 fatty acids,” says lead author Susan E. Duncan, PhD, Professor and Director of the Macromolecular Interfaces with Life Sciences Program, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech. “Recent innovations in exotic yogurt flavors provide innovation opportunities. We tested different levels of fish oil in a savory chili and lime flavored yogurt, and found that a 1% concentration of fish oil, which provides more than the suggested daily intake, could be acceptable to a large proportion of the general population, and have a potential market among health- and nutrition-conscious consumers.”
In a preliminary study, tasters could not differentiate between low levels of fish and butter oils in unflavored yogurt, but they could discern yogurt flavored with oxidized fish oil, which has a strong fishy taste. A second panel underwent 6 hours of training so that they could accurately describe and measure lime, sweet, heat, acid, and oxidized flavor attributes. They found the fish flavor more pronounced than the lime and acid characteristics in a chili-lime flavored yogurt fortified with 1% oxidized fish oil, compared with yogurts containing .43% or 1% fresh fish oil. The oxidized flavor was higher in chili-lime yogurts containing oxidized fish oil and a high level (1%) of fresh fish oil.
In a second study, 100 untrained consumers who were generally nutritionally motivated and aware of the health benefits of n-3 fatty acids evaluated the overall acceptance and flavor acceptance of chili lime yogurt enriched with butter oil or fish oil. Fifty percent of the tested group rated chili-lime flavored yogurt fortified with 1% butter oil or fish oil in the positive end of the scale (“liked extremely” to “neither liked nor disliked”). Thirty-nine percent reported they would be highly likely or likely to consume the chili-lime flavored yogurt on a regular basis. The low overall acceptance of the product by the remaining 50% of the tested group may be attributed to the chili-lime flavor or the lack of sweetness in the product.
These studies demonstrate the potential for consumption of the entire suggested daily intake of n-3 fatty acids in a single serving of savory-flavored yogurt, providing an alternative and easily incorporated dietary source of these heart-healthy fatty acids.
“Innovation of unsweetened, savory flavoring in combination with the powerful health functionality of n-3 fatty acids and dairy components is of interest to a large segment of the health- or nutrition-aware population. A potential market exists for this population,” Dr. Duncan concludes.
People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology…
- Diet, nutrient levels linked to cognitive ability, brain shrinkage (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Diet patterns may keep brain from shrinking | Logicamp (logicamp.wordpress.com)
- Diet Patterns May Keep Brain From Shrinking (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Nutrients May Stop Brain Shrinkage Linked To Alzheimer’s (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Diet patterns may keep brain from shrinking (eurekalert.org)
- Omega-3 Diet + Vitamins Help Keep Brain from Shrinking (psychcentral.com)
- How Your Diet May Affect Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease (healthland.time.com)
- Fast food may damage brain: study (windsorstar.com)
- Fast food may damage your brain: study (vancouversun.com)
- Diet rich in fish, vitamins may reduce brain shrinkage (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)