Get the latest updates on hot culinary trends, food science news, dietary research, and other food-related activities.
We’ll also take a peek at the personalities who shape the food world.
February 27, 2013
Consuming Avocados Associated with Overall Better Health Indicators
When it comes to a healthy profile, avocado eaters show stellar outcomes, even though they eat higher amounts of fat overall. Smaller waists, higher levels of good cholesterol, low BMI readings, and general superior nutritional intake put lovers of avocados high on the Healthy Eating Index.
The study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) appeared in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal. According to Medical News Today, “… the survey data (NHANES 2001-2008, 17,567 U.S. adults ages 19 years and older) revealed that the 347 adults (50% female) who consumed avocados in any amount during a 24-hour dietary recording period had several significantly better nutrient intake levels and more positive health indicators than those who did not consume avocados.”
The research was based on the average daily consumption of one-half an avocado. The study also indicated that people who regularly eat avocados have half the chance for developing metabolic syndrome than those who do not consume avocados. Metabolic syndrome is a condition determined by the confluence of key risk factors that, when found together, can lead to diabetes (type-2), heart disease, or stroke.
Overall, avocado eaters had healthier diets. Their weight was lower by nearly 8 pounds, though total caloric intake was comparable to those who did not eat avocados. They ate more good fats ( 12% more polyunsaturated fats and 18% more monosaturated fats), thus creating an overall 11% higher fat intake than non-consumers
Investigating the role that avocados play in fighting obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease and the overall absorption of nutrients will continue under the auspices of the Hass Avocado Board, which will bankroll more clinical research, according to its Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo. The future of the avocado looks strong as it may hold the key to preventing the most prevalent and rampant of modern diet-related diseases. –MELorden
January 28, 2013
Can Eating Apples Chase Away the Blues?
More fruits and vegetables in your diet may mean increased happiness and a sense of well-being. Apples, in particular are now being hailed as an excellent means for fighting depression, according to a British study that was described in a journal of health psychology this month.
Nearly 300 people participated in a three week diet in which they made journal entries describing their emotional and physical state as well as what they had eaten that day. The number of servings of fruits and vegetables were recorded as well.
“The results showed a strong day-to-day relationship between more positive mood and higher fruit and vegetable consumption, but not other foods,” said the study. Increased feelings of happiness, calmness, and energy were also recorded. For improved benefits of mood, the researchers concluded that 7-8 half cup servings of fruits and vegetables would be required for improved positive feelings, which can be achieved by making at least half of each meal fruits and vegetables. Also, by making fruit the focus of snacks, the desired number of servings can be reached.
Do healthy moods equal healthy snacks? The research suggests that there is a relationship between them. For a sense of well-being and feeling positive, remember that an apple a day may, indeed, keep the doctor and the blues away. –MELorden
For more information on related research, go to: Fruits and Vegetables: Seven-A-Day for Happiness and Mental Health
January 21, 2013
THE HOTTEST SUPERFOODS FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH
Can you guess what the nutrition experts of 2013 say are the best sources of healthy eating?
You may be surprised, or relieved, if any of these items are already part of your eating plan.
Which of these foodstuffs do you currently have in your pantry?
BLACK GARLIC (A delicate and fermented version that doesn’t have that “afterglow” of the original white. Black garlic is a powerhouse of antioxidants and tummy friendly pro-biotics. Best in sauces or roasted for a paste-like bread spread.)
CHIA SEEDS (Will these put hair on your head? Nah. They are super seeds and contain more Omega-3 than do flax seeds. As excellent protein sources they can be eaten whole or used to thicken sauces or puddings. Hmmmm. Chocolate shake with chia seeds, please.)
FARRO (Long a staple of the Roman soldiers, this fiber-rich grain, is far higher in protein than wheat. Think of it as a great addition to soups or in a hearty salad.)
FERMENTED FOODS ( Pickled products fight blood clots, are full of anti-inflammatory nutrition and good bacteria. Kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, et al are loaded with enzymes to aid digestion. Pile on the pickles.)
FRUIT ENZYMES FROM PAPAYA, GRAPEFRUIT, AND PINEAPPLE (These enzymes can help you digest all food more efficiently, make excellent nibbles, and provide quick energy.)
GREEN COFFEE BEAN EXTRACT (A green coffee bean is an unroasted one. It contains more antioxidant value than a roasted bean and weightloss claims abound. With a slightly sweet taste, these beans can be combined with fruits for drinks and shakes. Great for an energy pump.)
MEATLESS PROTEIN (Best are those derived from legumes like lentils and chickpeas, brown rice, peas, hemp, and peanuts. Soy? Not so much– unless in fermented forms.)
NORDIC FOODS (Scandanavian nations enjoy diets rich in omega-3 thanks to a focus on fish like salmon and herring Don’t forget those lingonberries, which like blueberries are full of antioxidants. Plenty of fermented foods such as pickled beets and onions and their love of dill and other herbs could all contribute to lower rates of heart disease.)
PERUVIAN FOODS (Seafood dishes like civiches and the use of hot chile peppers and ginger add zing and create meals high in lean proteins and packed with flavor.)
The observers of health trends included a few standard, expected items: It’s no surprise that TEA is listed. The health-conscious have been singing the praises of green teas, spicy teas, and grain-focused teas for a while now, but they are now appearing front and center on restaurant menus. Also, the old staple OATMEAL, in gourmet versions with condiments like fresh herbs, roasted vegetables, or cheeses like goat and ricotta– even with poached eggs– are pumping up the volume beyond the classic Quaker Oats breakfast option. DEHYDRATED SEAWEED has been a staple of Asian diets and Japanese snack food. Lots of chip-like crunch, salty and nutty flavor disguise the Vitamins (A and B), potassium and antioxidants contained in these low calorie treats.
If you don’t have these uber-healthy foods in your larder, give them a try. They are all kind to your metabolism, digestion, and waistline. You can be both hip and healthy at the same time. –MELorden
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT:
THE WORLD WASTES 50% OF AVAILABLE FOOD
January 14, 2013
While almost one billion mouths suffer from hunger worldwide, many fields with unharvested crops lie rotting. Laws dictating tossing out foods with expired sell-by dates result in the dumping of perfectly good food sources. And less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables headed for grocery store shelves end up in the trash heap.
So says a recent study by GB’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers which calculates that nearly “2 billion tons of food produced worldwide never makes it into a consumer’s mouth.” (LA Times) The study, which predicts the need to feed an additional 3 billion mouths by 2075, blames the “supply chain”, an infrastructure rife with inadequacies of transportation, agricultural practices and inefficiencies such as poor storage facilities and packaging along with misused natural resources of water, land, and energy. IME also points a finger at both retailers and consumers.
If produce isn’t attractive or unblemished, most consumers will by-pass it, observes the study, which identifies US and European consumers as a group that dumps about half of all food they buy. With such overwhelming waste and inefficiency in the production and distribution of potentially viable and still nutritious foodstuffs, world hunger will continue to grow. Changes in process and infrastructure along with transforming the consumer mind-set are solutions to end world hunger and could up the potential to feed the world by 60%-100% (Canarian Weekly). The IME is calling for immediate action to address this growing crisis of waste and hunger. —MELorden
The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
I can attest to vegetables/fruit improving mental health. I’m currently in the fifth day of a “juice fast”, where I consume nothing but fruit/vegetable juice freshly extracted in a juicer. I embarked on this in an experimental mood, wondering if it was true that juice fasting can improve mental/physical overall heath. And even on just day 5, I can say it definitely has. That foggy feeling has gone away, and I can concentrate better on the tasks at hand.
I’ve noticed in the news lately that there are a lot more kids being diagnosed with ADHD. I actually was one of those kids, but chose not to be treated. I’m beginning to think that nutrition, or lack there of, plays a huge role in this rising trend.
Fascinating. And your juicer is clearly getting a work out, too. A perfect example of technology shaping diet and food preparation preferences/ideas. Continued luck with the juice fast.
I love avocados and eat them often. If you’ve never had one, try an avocado shake sometime. Here’s an easy recipe: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/avocado-shake.html