Matcha, finely ground powder made from baby green-tea leaves, is growing in popularity due to health benefits and the natural woodsy flavor it imparts to drinks, pastries and savory dishes, reported Jenice Tupolo and Carla Meyer in the Sacramento Bee.
To find out if the most-prized tea in Japan lives up to its purported health benefits when scrutinized scientifically, the reporters contacted UC Cooperative Extension specialist Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr.
“The health benefits are similar to that of green tea in general,” Zidenberg-Cherr said. Possible benefits of green tea include lower risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancers, and bone-density improvement. Though "the studies are pretty inconclusive," she said, some have been promising.
"Some have shown a benefit of maybe three cups a day in terms of reduced risk of cardiovascular disease especially," she said.
Zidenberg-Cherr cautioned against taking matcha or green tea with dairy milk.
The project, called Niños sanos, familia sana (Healthy children, healthy family) has turned into a community-wide effort and a new culture of health for families. Lucia Kaiser, UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist, is leading the project. Outreach involves UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisors and staff in Tulare, Yolo, Kern and Fresno counties and the UC CalFresh and EFNEP programs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
“The lasting impact that Niños Sanos, Familia Sana will have in Firebaugh is precisely the goal of the childhood obesity prevention program – working at the family, school, and community levels to make healthy kids and healthy families a part of everyday life,” said Deirdra Chester, NIFA's national program leader for applied nutrition research.
According to the USDA blog post, Niños sanos, familia sana has contributed to changes in the community:
- Slower weight gain among obese boys
- Reduction in children's consumption of high-fat/high-sugar foods
- Growing interest in programs and policy reflecting local commitment to improved health and nutrition
For more information, see a story and video snapshot in the UC Food Blog.
Produce tasting, nutritional tips and raffles were part of a celebration around the release on Monday of a new guide to local fruit and vegetables in Santa Cruz County, reported Donna Jones in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
The 40-page booklet - titled "Fresh*Starts*Here" - was developed by UC Cooperative Extension, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau. It includes nutrition information, tips for choosing and storing produce, recipes, and profiles of local farmers and health care professionals.
"It's about healthy eating and a healthy community," said Laura Tourte, UCCE farm management advisor in Santa Cruz County.
Tourte said the guide promotes consumption of food grown by local farmers. The recipes were chosen with an eye toward simple preparation and appeal to families.
UCCE contributed $4,100 to support the printing of the booklet, and all development committee members and participants contributed their time and effort. Funds to produce additional copies and a Spanish-language version are being sought.
Additional events marking the release of the booklet take place at 3 p.m. Nov. 18, at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation main clinic, 2025 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz; and at 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at the PAMF westside clinic, 1303 Mission St., Santa Cruz.
University of California Cooperative Extension has headquartered two new specialists on the UC Merced campus, reported Scott Hernandez-Jason of UC Merced University News. Karina Diaz-Rios, specialist for nutrition, family and consumer sciences, joined UCCE on Sept. 2. Tapan Pathak, specialist for climate adaptation in agriculture, will start Feb. 2, 2015.
"These positions come with a focus on interacting with the community, conducting applied research, and translating UC research to help the ag economy and local residents,” said Tom Peterson, UC Merced Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. “We are pleased that UC Merced can partner with UC ANR (UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources) on these important issues.”
UC ANR continuously provides research-based solutions to the California agriculture industry, said Barbara Allen-Diaz, ANR vice president.
“California agriculture is a world-recognized marvel, and we'd like to think the university, through ANR's research and outreach, is a big reason why,” she said. “Adding UC Merced to our existing, thriving partnerships with UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside will only strengthen UC efforts in helping California and the world to sustainably feed itself.”
The Visalia Times-Delta reported that UC Cooperative Extension was one of the organizations represented at a meeting about the potential merger last Friday, which also included Kaweah Delta Healthcare District, Pixley-based Be Healthy Tulare and United Way of Tulare County.
“I guess one of my fears is there is an inherent distrust of Fresno,” the story quoted Cathi Lamp, nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for UCCE in Tulare County and a former FoodLink board member. Lamp said she is concerned the merged food bank would be based in Fresno County, and Tulare County's needs might be ignored.
Julie Cates, UCCE nutrition program coordinator, told me FoodLink of Tulare County has long focused on distributing quality, nutrient dense products and partnering with agencies, such as UCCE, to provide nutrition education.
"We were able to have our teachers at the school receiving the 'farmers market' write testimonial emails and one teacher submitted letters from the fourth-grade students," Cates said. "I am very pleased with this outcome, as it illustrates how the food distributions are migrating from the inner to outer circles of the social ecological model in which we are striving to serve, reflecting universal behavior change."
View a one-minute video about one of the collaborative projects conducted by FoodLink of Tulare County and UCCE Tulare County: