TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year

Here's what should be on your grocery list this month

Want to know what’s growing now? Let’s take it one month at a time, with TIME‘s Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year.

August is one of the best months for produce, according to Chris Romano, an associate produce coordinator at Whole Foods. “In summer there are a lot of good choices out there,” he says. Based on where you live in the U.S., your produce offerings can vary, but in August there are several fruits and veggies that are in-season and tasty nationwide.

Pluots: Summer is the season for stone fruit like plums, peaches cherries and pluots—which look like deep red or nearly forest green plums—are especially flavorful this month. “August is by far their peak,” says Romano. “They really sharpen in flavor and are very dramatic in color.”

Tomatoes: These need long, hot days to really develop in flavor, Romano says. “Heirlooms have gotten so popular in the last few years,” he says. To find the perfect tomato, our friends at Cooking Light recommend looking for one with bright, shiny, firm skin that has a little give when gently squeezed.

Grapes: Grapes need a many hours of sun and heat to develop their flavors, and they concentrate all their sugars in August, says Romano. “We will see all sorts of varieties from champagne to cotton-candy grapes.” A good way to select grapes is to pay attention to the color of the stem. If the stems are brittle it means they likely won’t last very long once you bring them home. Grapes with a flexible green stem are a good bet.

Melons: Though you can get a decent melon in the fall or even winter, summer is really their peak. “Whether it’s a melon with a white, deep orange, or a salmon flesh, there’s nothing better,” says Romano. To pick a good melon, look for symmetry, a heavy weight, and no bruising.

Okra: August is a good month to keep an eye out for okra. Look for small green pods and steer clear of bruising. In the United States, okra has become a Southern cuisine staple, but people living in other U.S. regions can enjoy it too. When okra is overcooked it can have a slimy texture, so be sure to look up a couple recipes before diving in.

TIME 2016 Election

Donald Trump Applied to Trademark ‘Trumpublican’ and ‘Trumpocrat’

The trademarks are currently classified as abandoned

Businessman and presidential hopeful Donald Trump wanted to add some new trademarks to his collection.

The Washington Post reports the Trump team filed applications to trademark “Trumpocrat” and “Trumpublican” earlier this year. The trademarks are currently classified as abandoned, but they can still be looked up through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database.

This isn’t the first time Trump has made use of the trademark office. The real estate magnate has already secured some notable trademarks through the years, the Post notes, including “The Board Room” and “Miss Photogenic Teen USA.”

Trump’s latest applications would have covered the use of the terms on a variety of items, from T-shirts to cufflinks.

[The Washington Post]

TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Science of Why You Crave Comfort Food

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It's not just because these foods are tasty. It's because they make us feel less alone

In mid-July, I was visiting my hometown in Minnesota when I happened upon the unmistakable scent of something deep-fried. I was at a concert, and no matter how off-brand a dietary choice of corn dogs and cheese curds may be for a health writer, I went for it. How could I not? I spent two thoroughly enjoyable summers during college working at the Minnesota State Fair, and that experience continues to make corn-and-grease-dipped hot dogs not only appetizing but somehow irresistible, too.

Summer is the season for nostalgic eating: Hot days in the park call for a trip to the ice cream truck, concerts call for corn dogs, baseball games call for hotdogs and beer, ice-cold movie theaters call for popcorn. And it’s not just me. Researchers suggest that when we associate foods with happy memories, the effects are profound, impacting how good we think foods taste as well as how good those foods make us feel.

It makes intuitive sense that positive experiences with a given food could influence our craving for it later on, but recent research also suggests something else is at play, too: comfort foods remind us of our social ties, which means they may help us feel less lonesome when we feel isolated. In a recent July 2015 study, Jordan Troisi, an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee, The University of The South, and his colleagues found that people with strong relationships preferred the taste of comfort food when they experienced feelings of social isolation.

“Comfort food seems to be something people associate very significantly with close relationships,” says Troisi. “This probably comes about by individuals coming to associate a particular food item with members of their family, social gatherings, and people taking care of them, which is why we see a lot of comfort foods [that are] traditional meals or things had at a party.”

Of course, what counts as comfort food is different person to person. When Troisi has asked people write about an experience they’ve had with a comfort food, essays have ranged from soup to kimchi. “It’s not just that ice cream, for instance, is really tasty. It’s that someone has developed a really significant meaning behind the idea of ice cream due to their relationships with others, and that’s what is triggering this effect,” he says.

Even the smell of a meaningful dish can elicit feelings of belonging, some research suggests. In a February 2015 study, Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Chelsea Reid and her colleagues had 160 people smell 12 different scents, including apple pie, cotton candy and baby powder and rate the extent to which the scent was familiar, arousing, autobiographically relevant, and the extent to which it elicited nostalgia. “Nostalgia can be evoked in different ways, but scents may be particularly likely to evoke nostalgia due to the strong link between scents and memory. The smell of pumpkin pie might bring all those holidays with family flooding back, or the smell of a familiar perfume might arouse memories with your partner,” says Reid.

Biologically speaking, scent and memory are closely tied. “Psychological research has demonstrated that smells are powerfully linked to memory, and to autobiographical memory in particular,” says Reid. “The olfactory bulb, which is involved in the sense of smell, is linked to areas in the brain associated with memory and emotional experiences.”

Humans have a fundamental need to belong, says Reid, and because nostalgia often centers around personal events involving people they care about, she sees the evocation of nostalgia as one way people can obtain a sense of belonging even when the people they are close to are not close by.

So while corn dogs in the summer may not be fine dining by any standard, for me, they trigger happy memories of summers long ago—and that’s a good thing. In moderation, of course.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

This Is Why You’re a Total Sucker for Sweets

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It's true: smelling fatty food really does make you crave dessert

Bakeries may want to keep their doors open if they want to attract more customers; new research suggests that when people unconsciously smell a sweet and fatty odor—like the kind that emanates from a just-baked chocolate croissant—they’re more likely to choose to eat a high-calorie dessert.

In the new study published in the journal Appetite, researchers tested whether background cues, like sniffing something delicious, have an effect on a person’s food choices. Before the 147 people in the study even realized the experiment had begun, they were told to sit in a waiting room for 15 minutes. In one control group, they simply sat in a regular room. In another (luckier) group, they sat in a room in which the researchers had just baked pain au chocolat and activated a fragrance diffuser with the scent of the treat. The third group sat in an unscented room while a radio aired a piece about the nutritional dangers of fatty and sweet foods, and the final group experienced both the chocolate scent and the audio messages.

MORE: You Asked: Is Eating Dessert Really That Bad For Me?

Then, the people in the study were taken into a different room where they were asked to serve themselves a lunch of a starter, a main course and a dessert from a buffet.

People who had unwittingly smelled the sweet-fatty odor of the pain au chocolat were more likely to choose a high-calorie dessert, like a waffle, compared to people who hadn’t been exposed to the scented room. (Those people were more likely to choose the low-calorie dessert of applesauce.)

MORE: A New Taste Has Just Been Added To The Human Palate

Surprisingly to the researchers, the people who heard the nutritional messages also picked more high-calorie desserts that the control group, as did the group that experienced both the scent and the messaging. “We can assume that people who are faced with a complex and potentially overwhelming set of health messages every day do not pay attention to these messages,” the study authors write. “Consumers are exposed to hundreds of advertising messages per day and cannot pay attention to all of them.” Instead of taking away a healthy eating message from the radio, the researchers surmise that the men and women may have unconsciously focused on the words “fatty” and “sweet” instead.

The study sample is small, and the researchers acknowledge that they weren’t able to examine other factors related to eating habits and preferences, like gender and age. Still, the study provides insight into cues we may not even realize are influencing the foods we choose.

TIME medicine

Watch This Amazing Child Get a Bilateral Hand Transplant

A child has successfully received two new hands

Surgeons have successfully performed the first ever bilateral hand transplant on a child.

In early July, surgeons at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia performed the complex surgery to attach two donor hands to Zion Harvey, an eight-year-old boy whose hands and feet were amputated several years ago after he caught a severe and unknown infection.

“I made the decision from a medical standpoint, but ultimately, to have the surgery was Zion’s decision,” says Zion’s mother Pattie Ray in an interview with TIME. “He wanted to do what other children can do without so much trouble.”

Since Zion had already undergone a kidney transplant, he was taking anti-rejection medication which increased his potential as a viable candidate for a pediatric hand transplant. The surgery was performed this month when there was a donor match (the precise date of the surgery is withheld to protect donors). Zion also has prosthetic feet.

As depicted in the video above, the medical team performing the surgery was split into four teams, with two focusing on the donor limbs and two focusing on Zion. The surgeons connected bones with steel plates and screws and then connected the arteries and veins. When the team had successful blood flow, they connected the muscles, tendons and nerves.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

“I was nervous and anxious during his surgery,” says Ray. “When they told me the surgery was successful I breathed a big sigh of relief. I could breathe again.”

Zion continues to undergo hand therapy multiple times a day, something he became accustomed to after his prior surgeries. “He’s improving every day,” says Ray. “Yesterday he held some pizza and put it in his mouth.”

Doctors say that after his rehabilitation, Zion will be able to throw a football among other daily activities that were previously more difficult.

Ray says that Zion wants to have a party to show off his new hands when he’s released from the hospital. “He hopes to inspire others and open doors,” she says.

 

TIME Research

There’s a New Way to Predict West Nile Virus Outbreaks

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Scientists are working on a promising new model

It’s peak mosquito season in the United States, which means the risk for the mosquito-borne West Nile is up. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency sees the most cases of the disease between June and September.

As of July 21, 2015, the CDC reports that 33 states have reported West Nile in people, mosquitoes or animals and there have been 23 cases of West Nile in humans. Though many people with West Nile will not develop symptoms, the disease can cause inflammation of the brain or inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal chord. Only about 1% of people will develop neurological illness from the virus. Unfortunately there are no drugs or vaccines for West Nile. Cases have been reported in every state except for Alaska and Hawaii.

Given the fact that there’s no cure or vaccine for West Nile, being able to predict when and where the disease could spread in the U.S. before it happens would be a boon for public health experts, and researchers are getting closer to that possibility. In May, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published their recent findings that showed links between the weather and incidence of West Nile virus nationwide.

MORE: You Asked: Why Do Mosquitoes Always Bite Me?

The researchers analyzed associations between temperature and precipitation and higher prevalence of West Nile virus disease in the U.S. from the years 2004 to 2012. The found notable and consistent patterns among different regions in the U.S. For instance, in the East, a drier than normal fall and spring was associated with an above average number of outbreaks. But patterns looked different in the West. Weather may influence breeding patterns as well as other vectors of the disease like birds.

The researchers are now in the process of using their findings to build a model using climate data to predict the risk of West Nile Virus transmission across the U.S. “If we can predict [West Nile virus] outbreaks, we can target public health messages to high risk regions of the country. And counties will have additional information to use for deciding about when, where, and if they should do mosquito control,” says researcher Micah Hahn a scientist at NCAR and CDC.

According to NCAR scientists Andrew Monaghan and Mary Hayden, who are also working on the model, additional data sets are being considered and implemented to help the model predict the number of cases expected in each U.S. county, including land use data, demographic data, and mosquito maps.

The hope is that the CDC will eventually adopt the model. According to Monaghan, having this information could help the CDC allocate resources to places that are likely going to be the most affected. The researchers want the model to be both informative and easily digestible to the average person. It’s also possible that the model could one day be translated to work for other mosquito-borne diseases in the United States besides West Nile.

Some researchers estimate that a functioning system will be available in about a year. Others involved are more broad in their estimations: “We continue to work on it but it may be several years before we have a validated model that we can use, if we get there at all,” says Dr. Marc Fischer of the CDC. Still, those in the community remain optimistic that such a system is possible, and may be available sooner rather than later.

TIME cyberattacks

Planned Parenthood Targeted by Hackers

"We are taking every measure possible to mitigate these criminal efforts"

Planned Parenthood says it has informed the FBI and Department of Justice of a malicious attack on its servers by activist hackers who are threatening to leak the personal data of its staff.

The activists have “called on the world’s most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president at PPFA.

The hack, originally reported by the Daily Dot, appears to have been motivated by anti-abortion sentiment. “Trying to mold an atrocious monstrosity into socially acceptable behaviors is repulsive,” one of the supposed hackers told the website. “Obviously what [Planned Parenthood] does is a very ominous practice. It’ll be interesting to see what surfaces when [Planned Parenthood] is stripped naked and exposed to the public.”

Laguens called the hackersextremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services” and said Planned Parenthood was “working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks.”

The reported breach comes as the organization defends itself against videos from an anti-abortion group that show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has said the videos are edited and are part of a “smear campaign.”

TIME weather

Oklahoma Hit By 4.5 Magnitude Earthquake

The state had two earthquakes in one day

Residents of Oklahoma experienced an earthquake on Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

At around a little past 1 p.m., the state experienced a 4.5 magnitude earthquake near Crescent, Oklahoma in Logan County, local news reports. A 4.0 earthquake was also reported slightly earlier at 12:49 p.m.

Residents in several states reportedly felt the shake, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas, the Weather Channel reports.

So far there are no reports of major damage.

The Rocky Mountain region is infrequently hit by earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which will be monitoring any further seismic activity.

TIME Research

That Makeup Ad Is Probably Lying to You

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New study reveals how many ads for cosmetics are inaccurate or false

Only 18% of all claims made in commercials for cosmetics are generally trustworthy, according to new research released Monday.

Cosmetics firms often use advertising verbiage like “clinically proven” or “inspired by groundbreaking DNA research.” But researchers combed through these claims and found that the majority were vague and many are outright lies, according to a new study published in the Journal of Global Fashion Marketing.

The researchers assessed 289 cosmetic ads, including ads for products like make-up, skincare and fragrance, featured in magazines like Vogue and Marie Claire. They then separated the various claims into different categories, including environmental claims, endorsement claims and scientific claims. The researchers rated them as “acceptable,” “vague,” “omission” or “outright lie.”

The study authors conclude that claims of “well-being and happiness” are usually not substantiated. “Those who back the claims with scientific evidence and consumer testing often use questionable methodologies for their substantiation,” the authors wrote.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

FDA Wants Nutrition Labels to Include More Detail on Added Sugars

Americans could know more about the amount of added sugar in their food

Federal officials want to give Americans more information about the amount of sugar added to their food, and what those amounts mean.

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has revised its proposal for nutritional labels to not only include the amount of added sugars in grams (something the FDA recommended in 2014), but also to list the percent Daily Value (% DV) of those added sugars, in the same way that other items are currently listed.

The intent of the change is to not only show buyers how much sugar is in their food, but to indicate how that amount compares to the recommended daily limit on sugar consumption. Officials recommend that people not consume more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar.

“Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie requirements if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar,” writes Susan Mayne, the FDA’s director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a blog post about the proposed change. “FDA’s initial proposal to include the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is now further supported by newly reviewed studies suggesting healthy dietary patterns, including lower amounts of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, are strongly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The FDA recommends that adults and children age 4 and older not consume more than 50 grams of added sugars per day. For kids ages 1 through 3, the recommended limit is 25 grams of sugar.

For context, the FDA provides the example of a consumer drinking a 20-oz. sugary beverage. That contains about 66 grams of added sugar, according to the FDA, which would be listed on the label as 132% of the Daily Value.

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