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IFAS News

University of Florida

Research shows emotional intelligence critical for leaders

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Chris Mott

Chris Mott

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Diet and exercise can help people lead more effectively, a new University of Florida research project shows.

Chris Mott, a UF doctoral student in agricultural leadership development, investigated how food and lifestyle impact emotional intelligence, an idea that calls for people to manage feelings so they can express them appropriately and effectively.

“We know that prior research separately links the food we eat and exercise (or the lack thereof) with the brain, triggering neurogenesis and affecting moods,” Mott said. “But this study is the first of its kind that ties diet, exercise and emotional intelligence together. Emotional intelligence is about knowing one’s true self and using awareness to best respond and relate to others ─ vital for a trusted and effective leader.”

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“The Meat We Eat” a popular course that improves attitudes

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock, Nutrition

MEATWEEAT for web 042215

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some people are changing their attitudes about the meat industry after taking the popular online course, “The Meat We Eat.”

The course, intended to give the consumer a more educated view of the meat industry, started up again April 20, and so far, about 5,000 people are registered. Chad Carr, a UF/IFAS animal sciences associate professor and meat Extension specialist, hopes that number rises above last year’s enrollment of 20,000 – students from around the world.

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$2 million UF/IFAS study to focus on antibiotic resistance; $500,000 study on taste retention

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Economics, Environment, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Kwang Cheol (K.C.) Jeong, Ph.D. UF/IFAS Photo. 2011.Kevin Folta.  UF/IFAS File Photo.

Jeong, left, and Folta, right

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist will try to figure out how antibiotic-resistant microorganisms get into cattle. Another will study how to get tomatoes and strawberries to retain their flavors and last longer.

The two vastly different questions will be the focus of separate studies led by UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has awarded KC Jeong $2.19 million to study the cattle antibiotic question. NIFA also has awarded Kevin Folta and Thomas Colquhoun $500,000 to investigate the strawberry/tomato issue.

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UF/IFAS study: Mushrooms boost immunity

Topic(s): IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Susan Percival

UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Professor Sue Percival

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Could a mushroom a day help keep the doctor away?

A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks.

Of the thousands of mushroom species globally, about 20 are used for culinary purposes. Shiitake mushrooms are native to Asia and are cultivated for their culinary and medicinal value.

In a 2011 study led by UF Food Science and Human Nutrition Professor Sue Percival, 52 healthy adults, age 21 to 41, came to the Gainesville campus, where researchers gave them a four-week supply of dry shiitake mushrooms. Participants took the mushrooms home, cleaned and cooked them. Then they ate one, 4-ounce serving of mushrooms each day during the experiment.

Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins.

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UF/IFAS, Immokalee officials are working together to get residents moving and eating healthy

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Children take part in Ciclovia Immokalee!

IMMOKOLEE, Fla. — Adelaida Rodriguez, 34, walked quickly along North 1st Street in Immokalee recently, keeping up with her three sons, ages 8, 6 and 4, as they rode their bikes to Ciclovia Immokalee!, what is becoming a monthly healthy living festival in the small, Southwest Florida town of about 24,000 people.

“I like to go just because it’s a good thing for the family to do,” Rodriguez said.  “It’s a good day to do family activities and be outdoors.”

One of the stops she and her sons made was at a booth measuring body mass index to make sure they were all within healthy weight ranges, which they were.

In a town known for poverty and migrant workers, the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is working with local community agencies on Ciclovia Immokalee! to change area families’ health habits, including exercising more and making better choices in the foods they eat. (more …)

UF/IFAS research, breeding showcased at Flavors of Florida

Topic(s): Announcements, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

UF/IFAS Flavors of Florida 2015

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Faculty from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences produce some of the nation’s tastiest fruits and vegetables.

Researchers at UF’s Plant Innovation Center breed new cultivars and conduct research to boost the taste, smell and appearance of Florida fruits, vegetables and foliage. But the PIC does much more, said UF environmental horticulture Professor David Clark.

“The big thing is this: No other university in the country can pull off what we’ve put together here, so we are novel,” Clark said. “We cover the whole supply chain, from the conception of an idea to the realization of a product.”

UF faculty, administrators and friends gathered Monday at the UF president’s house in Gainesville for Flavors of Florida 2015, a premier event showcasing the edible research products of the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center. Industry leaders, donors and guests savored the sensations of tasty tomatoes, flavor-filled fruits and other Sunshine State food and drinks while learning more about the impact that UF/IFAS makes for the agriculture industry. This is the second year the event has been held.

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Sticking with a healthy heart plan

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition

4H youth learning about My Plate, healthy eating, and physical fitness.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Remember that New Year’s resolution to diet and exercise?

You can increase your odds of sticking to your weight-control plan by surrounding yourself with supportive people, setting realistic goals and logging your activities, a University of Florida expert says.

February is American Heart Month, a good time to learn more about cardiovascular diseases and how to stick with a weight-loss program. One in six people who try to fight the fat actually stay with their plans over a sustained period, said Anne Mathews, a UF/IFAS assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and a registered dietician.

But there’s hope.

“Making any changes can be beneficial,” Mathews said. “Making changes can also be difficult. So if you’re thinking about making a change in your health behaviors, some of the things we know will help are to get help from a registered dietitian or a doctor, get help from the people around you ─ asking them to help keep you more active. Keep track of what you’re doing, such as how often you drink water and eat fruits and vegetables. Plan ahead and problem-solve any foreseen challenges such as a change in schedule. And recognize your successes.”

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CALS doctoral student earns $25,000 fellowship from Dannon Yogurt

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Families and Consumers, Nutrition

Yogurt Grant - 012815 Ford_Amanda photo 2014

Amanda Ford

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences doctoral student has won a $25,000 fellowship to continue studying probiotics.

Amanda Ford, conducting research under the guidance of Wendy Dahl, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, was awarded the fellowship by the Dannon Company.

“Ford’s strong interest in yogurt and probiotics and commitment to advancing human health through scientific research distinguished her from a pool of well-qualified and talented candidates,” the Dannon Company said in a news release.

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UF/IFAS helping those in need eat healthy for the New Year

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, Vegetables

Fresh vegetables at the farmers market.

SARASOTA, Fla. — Karen Maxey, 69, grew up on a farm eating fresh fruits and vegetables and maintained that healthy diet throughout her life.  But in 2007, the economy took a toll on her personal and professional life; she lost her real estate business and her home, and then her marriage collapsed.  She went back to school and graduated with a business degree at age 65, only to find her job search was in vain.

And so, though no fault of her own, she wound up a recipient of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – known as SNAP – which supplies her with $64 a month for food.

“So many seniors are really suffering,” said Maxey, who was thrilled when she found out that at some Florida farmer’s markets, her benefits could be doubled, up to $20, to enable her eat healthy, Florida-grown foods under a program called Fresh Access Bucks.  Some markets even double that per shopper, per market day, allowing SNAP recipients to purchase $40 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally. (more …)

UF/IFAS Extension and Bok Tower Gardens are partnering to teach a new generation about plants, gardening and the environment

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Crops, Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, Nutrition, Vegetables

Bok Tower

LAKE WALES, Fla. — Among the music of carillon bells, beneath a lush oak canopy, a new partnership is emerging between the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and historic Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL.

The partnership between the state’s preeminent land-grant university and this historic garden will provide onsite demonstration gardens, education programs and conservation research, as well as outreach programs to help people better see, appreciate, and connect with plants. A new school and community gardens program has already begun operations to teach food gardening to students and residents. (more …)

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