Harvest Desk

If you have a daily coffee habit, here's something to buzz about: A new study finds those cups of joe may help boost longevity.

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For women who are pregnant and practice yoga, there's conflicting advice about safety. A new study tries to clarify that. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

San Antonio is one of the country's emerging tech hubs. It's also home to a rich culinary scene. Now city officials are trying to bring both communities together through a program called Break Fast and Launch.

Lots of studies have looked at the health benefits of prenatal yoga for the mother to be. There's even some evidence that yoga can be potentially helpful in reducing complications in high-risk pregnancies.

But does yoga have any impact on the fetus?

Five years ago, Congress promised an overhaul of the nation's food safety system, passing the Food Safety Modernization Act.

It took much longer than expected, but the Food and Drug Administration has now released the centerpiece — or at least, the most contested — part of that overhaul. These are rules that cover farmers who grow fresh produce, as well as food importers.

Glyphosate, widely known by its trade name, Roundup, probably gets more attention than any other herbicide. It's one of world's most-used weedkillers, and it is also closely linked to the growth of genetically modified crops.

Monsanto invented Roundup, and also invented crops that grow well when it's used on them. Farmers find that combination almost irresistible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has crunched new numbers on America's obesity epidemic. What do they tell us? As a nation, we seem to be stuck.

The overall prevalence of obesity in the three-year period ending 2014 was just over 36 percent. This mean that about 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is obese.

But if you're a silver-linings kind of person, there's this: After decades of increases, obesity rates do seem to be flattening out.

Chef and food writer Kenji Lopez-Alt recently paid a visit to old stomping grounds: the Boston area, home to his alma mater, MIT.

He helped prepare one dinner at Roxy's Grilled Cheese, a small, hip sandwich shop in the Allston neighborhood, to share a recipe from his new book The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.

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There are only two diseases that humans have wiped from the face of the earth. One is smallpox. The other one, you may not have heard of.

It's a cattle disease called rinderpest. Even the name sounds scary. It's German for "cattle plague." It was once one of the most fearsome diseases on the planet.

More than 36 percent of American adults and 17 percent of youth under 19 are obese, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Food and Drug Administration is seeking your input to answer a question: How should the agency define "natural" on food labels?

Disagreement over what "all natural" or "100 percent natural" means has spawned dozens of lawsuits. Consumers have challenged the naturalness of all kinds of food products.

For instance, can a product that contains high fructose corn syrup be labeled as natural? What about products that contain genetically modified ingredients?

From the Jakarta Ritz-Carlton to Kerala guesthouses to the Detroit Marriott, environmental journalist and educator Simran Sethi has eaten more room service meals than she can count. "I'm sure it's in the thousands," she says.

And why was she so often eating alone in her hotel room?

"I was always ashamed to go to a restaurant alone and ask for a table for one," she says.

Beekeeping is pretty hip these days among urbanites (even NPR has rooftop bees). And bees play a vital role in modern agriculture. It turns out, farmers have been fostering a sweet relationship with these honey producers for at least 9,000 years, according to a study in the journal Nature. That's a couple of thousand years earlier than previously thought.

A Brobdingnagian beer company is closer to becoming reality, as Anheuser-Busch InBev has worked out terms to buy its biggest rival, SABMiller, for more than $105 billion. The deal includes a $12 billion sell-off of MillerCoors to Molson Coors, to ease antitrust concerns.

True confession: I joined Twitter to follow a curry truck while I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area had plenty of Indian buffets, but Indian street food was hard to find.

Back here in Kolkata, India, there's street food everywhere. Puffed rice tossed with pungent mustard oil, onions and chilies. Indian wraps with a layer of egg, crispy phuchka shells dunked in tangy, tamarind water.

What I didn't expect to find: a food truck.

It's a tantalizing idea, isn't it, that we could burn stored fat simply by nibbling or sipping on something that tastes good.

Plenty of companies are now capitalizing on the allure of "metabolism boosting" foods and drinks. Among the most-hyped substance is green tea — for its supposed powers as an aid for weight loss and weight maintenance.

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When it comes to enjoying the flavors in food, our tongues really aren't that useful. They can detect just a few basic tastes: sweet, salt, sour, bitter, umami, and maybe fat.

Campbell Soup is changing the recipe of one of its chicken soups, but says it isn't quite ready to tinker with its classic chicken noodle version.

NPR's Allison Aubrey contacted the company, which clarified that it is changing the ingredient list of the Healthy Kids Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth — in cans with Star Wars- and Frozen-themed labels.

Salad-Making Is Performance Art At The Getty In Los Angeles

Nov 9, 2015

If the Getty Center in Los Angeles is going to treat salad as art, then you can bet iceberg lettuce is not part of the equation. And indeed, from now through January 11, the Salad Garden performance art stage features artists making salads from more than 50 exquisite heirloom herbs, vegetables and edible flowers. Part of the spectacle is also the artists devouring their salads on site.

In Washington, D.C., today, NPR staffers rescued a beautiful, black-and-white hen that was darting about busy North Capitol Street by our headquarters.

Oprah Winfrey recently invested $43 million in faltering diet company Weight Watchers International, Inc., and issued a call to dieters everywhere to lose weight and gain health and happiness as Weight Watchers customers.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



We've been flipping through a cookbook by Nigella Lawson, the celebrity cook who hardly needs an introduction. "Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food" includes plenty of food you can serve in a bowl.

When President Obama announced the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Thursday — and released them on Medium.com — there was a lot of talk about labor, the environment and manufacturing. But trade deals have a way of changing the way we eat, too.

State officials have closed both recreational and commercial fishing for Dungeness and rock crab on the California coast north of Santa Barbara to the Oregon border, due to a large algae bloom that's making the crab unsafe for consumption.

The bloom, created by an organism called Pseudo-nitzschia, produces a neurotoxin called domoic acid that can build up in marine life. It causes vomiting, diarrhea and cramping in humans — and even death, in severe cases.

Surgery to reduce the stomach's size is often seen as a last resort for severely obese teenagers, partly because there has been little information on the procedure's long-term effects on young people.

But a study published online Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked teens for three years and suggests that bariatric surgery as part of a weight-reduction plan was not only safe, but increased their heart health and the quality of their lives.

The West Coast's historic drought has strained many Californians — from farmers who've watched their lands dry up, to rural residents forced to drink and cook with bottled water. Now, thanks to a blazing hot summer and unusually warm water, things are looking pretty bad for salmon, too – and for the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on them.

Preliminary counts of juvenile winter-run Chinook are at extreme low levels. These are salmon that are born during the summer in California's Sacramento River and begin to swim downstream in the fall.

Young American adults own smartphones at a higher rate than any other age group. Researchers from Duke University wanted to see if capitalizing on that smartphone usage with a low-cost weight-loss app might help the 35 percent of young adults in the U.S. who are overweight or obese.

If you're rooting for smartphones to solve all our health problems, you're not going to like what the researchers found. The smartphone app didn't help young adults lose any more weight than if they hadn't been using the app at all.

Earlier this year, Des Moines, Iowa, made news when the city announced it would sue farmers in a legal battle over fertilizer. The city’s water supply from the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers often surpasses the legal limit for nitrates (10 mg/L), which commonly appear in water contaminated by runoff from farm fields.