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    Multifunctional devices are everywhere: Smartphones are also cameras, navigational tools and radios. Combination microwaves can be used as ovens, grills and roasters. Even ottomans double as sneaky storage spaces. Having a versatile device rather than several that serve just one function is …

      We usually think of herbs and spices as a pair, but in fact they’re two distinct groups categorized according to which part of the plant they come from. “Seeds, roots, certain flowers and barks are consumable, and we refer to most of these as spices,” explains Yikyung Park, ScD, a Washington…

        The gut is having a moment. Food ads and labels constantly trumpet the presence of things like probiotics and live cultures, and how they contribute to flora and microbiomes and gut health. It’s easy to get lost in the details, so it helps to remember a few key points — starting with the fac…

          When we think coffee, we think more: a faster heartbeat, a sharper mind, a pep in the step. But it turns out that coffee can also bring less of some things — like the risk of certain cancers, says Yin Cao, ScD, a Washington University researcher at Siteman Cancer Center.

            There are countless examples of “conventional wisdom” that simply aren’t backed by science. For instance, it’s perfectly fine to swim right after eating. Gum doesn’t take seven years to digest. Go ahead and play with all the frogs and toads you like — neither of them cause warts.

            Coconuts are the rare fruit that’s equally at home in the summer (refreshing coconut water) as it is in the winter (warming curries), and there are many ways to work them into a healthy, balanced diet all year long. “Coconut flesh has a number of vitamins and minerals and is a good source of…

            Hank Dart, a Washington University public health expert at Siteman Cancer Center, acknowledges that there’s something enigmatic about artichokes. They’re part of the thistle family (and count daisies and dandelions among their relatives), and they’re made up of tough outer leaves called brac…

            “Parsley” is more than an herb; it also refers to an entire family of plants and vegetables (Apiaceae) that includes parsnips, celery, carrots, cumin, dill and cilantro. And even though these foods might not take center stage for meals, they are brimming with crucially important vitamins, an…

            Cucumbers seem to be everywhere in these late days of summer: The prolific garden growers spring off the vine and right into salads, soups, drinks and even beauty products. That’s because at around 96 percent water, cucumbers are fantastic hydrators for the body, inside and out. They have hi…

            For many people, squash don’t reach their high season until fall, when the vegetables are used as centerpieces, cooked into stews or roasted with a little maple syrup. Summer squash, however, are generally easier to prepare. That’s because they’re picked before they’ve fully matured, and the…

            There are few fruits better at the peak of summer than pineapples. They’re sweet, juicy and bring a taste of the tropics to everything from drinks to salads. They also bring health benefits by the boatload. Pineapples’ sunshiny color is a clue to the hefty amount of vitamin C they hold: Just…

            Nightshades encompass a huge range of plants, herbs and vegetables. Many are toxic and have ominous-sounding names, such as angel’s trumpet and deadly nightshade, while others are as safe and run-of-the-mill as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. What nearly all of them have in common is the pre…

            Much ink has been spilled on the benefits that come from drinking a glass or two of red wine a day, but the real hero of that story isn’t the wine itself: It’s resveratrol, a compound that’s found in grape skin and is packed with antioxidants that may help ease inflammation throughout the bo…

            For thousands of years people have turned to tea as a medicine, as a ritual and simply as a comforting drink. There are countless varieties and blends, and each can benefit the body in different ways. Fruit teas—such as mango, peach and hibiscus—are made from dried pieces of fruit rather tha…

            Although many of us who live in non-citrus-producing states associate the sunshiny fruits — such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons — with warm weather, winter is the time when they are at their juicy best.

            “I tell people to think about seeds how you think about eggs,” says Dr. Yikyung Park, a Washington University nutritional epidemiologist at Siteman Cancer Center. “An egg is a healthy food that contains all the good nutrients, nutrients the egg needs to grow. It’s pretty much the same for se…

            When it comes to their reputation for health, nuts seem like a mixed bag: On one hand, they’re high in fat and calories. On the other, they’ve got antioxidants aplenty and can reduce blood pressure. Dr. Yikyung Park, a Washington University researcher at Siteman Cancer Center and an associat…

            For a snack that’s almost light as air, popcorn manages to deliver some hefty benefits. “While popcorn may not sit on the grocery store aisle next to whole-grain classics like 100% whole-wheat bread and whole-oats cereal, it is, in fact, a whole grain that can be quite nutritious,” says Hank…