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Showing posts from December, 2012

Black Pepper Fights Fat

A simple, widely available spice and kitchen staple may help us trim our waistlines. New research published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry gives the nod to black pepper.
The study provides evidence of a long-sought explanation for the beneficial, fat-fighting effects of the common seasoning. Piperine, the pungent-tasting substance that gives black pepper its characteristic taste, helps block the formation of new fat cells.

Repair and Reuse: Mending a Throwaway Culture

Countries can learn much from each other, and people that know how to fix things now have another model for benefiting their community by reducing the burden on landfills.

Conceived three years ago in Amsterdam as a way to help reduce waste, the Repair Café concept—in which citizens gather one or more days a month to socialize while mending clothes and broken household items like coffeemakers and vacuum cleaners—currently operates in more than 30 locations throughout The Netherlands. The effort in sustainability has been bolstered by a government grant, support from foundations and small donations that pay for staffing, marketing and even a Repair Café bus.

“In Europe, we throw out so many things,” says Martine Postma, a former journalist who initiated the idea after attending an exhibit on the benefits of repairing and recycling. “It’s a shame, because the things we throw away are usually not that broken.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” says Han van Kasteren, a professor at the Eindho…

Green Christmas Holiday Planet Savers

Here are some fresh ways to tweak family traditions for a greener holiday this and every year.

Incorporate local, sustainable cuisine into the family feast. Ingredients for a traditional holiday dinner can travel up to 30,000 miles. Instead, show support for local community farmers and reduce food transportation miles by choosing a heritage turkey or meatless entrée. Stellar complements may include organic cranberry jelly, mulled apple cider or wine from an area farm, orchard or vineyard.

Adopt or recycle the Christmas tree. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as many as 33 million live-cut Christmas trees are purchased each year in North America, and most end up
in landfills. Fortunately, Christmas tree adoption services like Central California’s Rent a Living Christmas Tree are popping up across the country, allowing them to go on living. The potted trees can be rented and delivered. If tree adoption services are not yet available locally, make sure to recycle a …

A Wise Man’s Gift for Arthritis Sufferers

Frankincense, an aromatic resin obtained from Boswellia trees native to Africa, is an age-old herbal remedy that may help alleviate the pain of arthritis, according to scientists at Cardiff University, in Wales. “The search for new ways of relieving the symptoms of inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis is a long and difficult one,” says Dr. Emma Blain, who led the research with coinvestigators Professor Vic Duance, from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, and Dr. Ahmed Ali, of the Compton Group. The team believes they have been able to demonstrate that treatment with an extract of Boswellia frereana—a rare frankincense species—inhibits the production of key inflammatory molecules and helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage tissue that causes the condition.

The African Somali people have long used extracts of frankincense as a traditional remedy for arthritis. “Our research achieved the use of innovative chemical extraction techniques to determine the active ingredient in…