Happy Tuesday! My week is off to a busy start, but I wanted to share some #goodreads (and listens) that I’ve found useful in recent days.


Omega 1-2-3

Credit: Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

I’m very interested in health and nutrition. I want to make the decisions that are best for my health. But there is often so much competing information on the internet that it’s difficult to know what’s credible. (It helps to work at science powerhouse UC ANR and have colleagues like the folks at UC Nutrition Policy Institute).

One of the topics I’ve wondered about is fish oil, also known as omega-3. Omega-3s been touted as a possible solution for a long list of health concerns. A recent episode of Gastropod explores the science behind the claims. The experts featured are Paul Greenberg and Harvard’s Dr. JoAnn Manson. (You may want to also read this piece outlining what Manson learned from the VITAL study, which looked at supplements, including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and placebos). I’ve been a fan of Greenberg’s work for a long time, and it was interesting to hear him interviewed for this podcast. Greenberg has a new book out – The Omega Principle – that is in my reading stack; I’ll report back after I read it.

If you’re new to Gastropod, be ready for an exquisite and tasteful experience learning about the world of food through the lens of science and history. Gastropod features excellent visual curation, superb writing in the form of episode notes, and a fine podcast (it’s a good length). The episode notes always include links to some interesting pieces. This is a #mustlisten and #mustread.


Is Exercise the Antidote to Aging?

Many of us could benefit from exercising more. Recent research conducted by UC Irvine has reaffirmed that exercise could be an antidote to aging, and very good for brain health. Read this smart write-up by Jeannette Warnert about that research, with bonus information about the ways UC ANR educators are encouraging Californians to exercise. It’s a quick and #goodread.


California Citrus Faces a Huge Threat

I’m always concerned about human health, but I’m also concerned about plant health. And these days, I’m particularly concerned about the health of citrus.

Citrus is iconic in California, and it has a long and proud history here. In 1910, Los Angeles County was the nation’s largest producer of lemons, according to Rachel Surls, co-author of the book From Cows to Concrete.  Today, California’s citrus industry provides $7 billion to the state’s economy, including $500 million in wages.

adult ACP on lemon
Adult ACP on a lemon. Photo by UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research.

What’s at Stake 

It’s hard to imagine a future without citrus in California. But a little insect called Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) – which was accidentally introduced in 2008 into California – is posing the greatest economic threat that the state’s citrus industry has ever faced.

Citrus greening
Citrus greening photo from USDAgov.

ACPs are vectors of a bacterium that causes a disease called huanglongbing (HLB), which is called “citrus greening” because the fruit doesn’t fully turn orange (see photo). The lethal disease kills many types of citrus.

In Florida, the citrus industry has been dealing with the spread of HLB by ACP since 2005, and the disease is estimated to have cost producers in that state $1.6 billion in losses over a 5 year period, writes Dr. Erica Kistner of UC Riverside’s Center for Invasive Species Research.


Can Science Save Citrus?

In this stunning multi-media piece from UC Davis’ Diane Nelson (photography and video by Joe Proudman), learn how farmers and researchers are trying to hold off deadly citrus greening long enough to find a cure. A subhead in that piece sums up something I firmly believe: “Science Breeds Hope.”


Have a great week…see you soon!