Next-level healthy eating
You’d think eating foods that are good for you would be enough, but it turns out you can actually do more. Writing in The Washington Post, dietitian Cara Rosenbloom reveals eight ways you can take healthy foods up to the next level. For instance, if you add black pepper (even just a sprinkle) to curry, you boost the anti-cancer benefits of the antioxidant curcumin. If you drink wine with fish, you may elevate the levels of Omega-3 fats in your blood, which may help protect against heart disease. And when you eat an apple, cucumber, potato, peach or kiwi, leave on the peel, where most of the antioxidants, vitamins and fiber are stored. “In the case of apples, a major component of the peel is quercetin, which is an antioxidant associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes,” Rosenbloom explains. There are five more tips where those came from. Read more
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Raise healthy eaters
Trick-or-treating will soon be upon us, scattering bite-size candies in its wake. Given that, how can you nudge your kids toward healthier eating? Writing in The New York Times, psychologist and author Lisa Damour offers a trio of suggestions. No. 1: Frame eating as a “zero-sum game.” Let children know they can take in only so much food, and explain to them that unprocessed foods are better than processed foods at providing their bodies with the nutritional elements needed to lower inflammation, prevent disease and boost immune systems. No. 2: Make it about “self-care.” Damour recommends we remind children that eating healthily is key to taking care of themselves and that they can generally rely on their own appetites to regulate consumption. No. 3: Find broader, “beyond-the-self” motivations. Damour suggests underscoring the broader environmental effects of food choices when discussing them with your kids, telling them, for instance, “Eating a real green apple is way better for the environment than a green-apple-flavored Starburst.” And, she reminds us that the behavior we model sends our kids a message as well. In other words, we should probably all put down the Starburst and reach for an apple. Read more
You’ve probably noticed that the dairy section at your local grocery store is brimming with more choices than ever before, especially when it comes to the yogurt aisle. There have never been so many ways to enjoy this cultured dairy product, including drinks that allow you to sip them when you’re on the go and savory formulas showcasing in-season produce. Here’s a tour of the new and delicious world of yogurt.
Similar to dips, there’s a new craze surrounding cups of savory yogurts that can be eaten as a snack. Instead of fruit and sweeteners, these yogurts are adorned with an array of veggies, herbs and spices. Blue Hill Yogurt (pictured above) in New York has pioneered this savory sensation, offering flavors like Tomato, Beet, Butternut Squash and Parsnip.
More and more brands are offering bottles of less spoonable yogurt for on-the-go enjoyment. New York state-based Ronnybrook makes a drinkable yogurt without the use of stabilizers or emulsifiers and offers a variety of flavors, including Blackberry, Mango and Low-Fat Honey Vanilla.
Skyr is an incredibly thick and creamy cultured dairy product made in traditional Icelandic fashion. Like the more familiar Greek yogurt, Skyr is strained, yielding a lower water content, but it tastes less tangy than its counterpart from Greece. One of the most-popular brands on the scene is Siggi’s, which is high in protein and is made with less added sugar than many other sweetened yogurts. Read more
There’s no denying that chocolate is a feel-good food — which is why so many of us reach for it at the first sign of stress or unhappiness. The problem is that by the time we’ve mindlessly munched down an entire candy bar or several handfuls of Hershey’s Kisses, we don’t necessarily feel any better. In fact, we’re more likely to feel overly full, plus a bit guilt-stricken for gorging on sweets.
But what if you could not only feel satisfied, but also actually boost your mood by eating just one small square of chocolate? According to a study recently published in the journal Appetite, it is possible. Researchers at Gettysburg College recruited 258 students and assigned them to one of four groups. In one group the participants each ate 75 calories’ worth of chocolate while being mindful; participants in another group each ate five crackers in the same manner; and participants in the other two groups each ate either the chocolate or the crackers without being mindful. The two groups assigned to be mindful were instructed to hold the food and think about the farmers who produced the ingredients necessary to make it. After that, they were told to focus on the sensations of the food in their mouths as they ate. Start to finish — eating either the chocolate or the crackers mindfully — took about four minutes. The non-mindful groups were instructed to eat half their food, then wait four minutes to eat the other half, in order to keep the time frames of consumption similar. Read more
Duped by Juice
When you reach for a Naked Juice, you probably think you’re doing something good for yourself. After all, its label promises “goodness inside.” But, in a class-action lawsuit filed last week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has accused Naked Juice parent company PepsiCo of misleading consumers by suggesting that the fruit and veggie juices are primarily filled with ultra-healthy “acai berry, blueberries, kale, and mango,” when in reality the product lines’ chief ingredients are orange juice or “cheap, nutrient-poor apple juice.” CSPI contends the juices’ “no sugar added” claim is misleading as well, suggesting that the juices’ sugar content is low, when actually it’s quite high — nearly as much per bottle as a 12-ounce can of Pepsi. It also accuses PepsiCo of flouting Food and Drug Administration regulations by failing to not make clear that the drinks are “not a low-calorie food.” Consumers, CSPI litigation director Maia Kats said, are “not getting what they paid for.” PepsiCo has called the allegations in the suit “baseless.” Read more
Once upon a time, parents’ fears about advertising’s sneaky effects on their kids were more or less confined to TV ads. Nowadays food and drink companies are able to reach kids online in ways parents aren’t even aware of — and research indicates that exposure to these marketing efforts does influence kids’ consumption habits. Writing in the Washington Post, nutrition expert Casey Seidenberg ticks off a few of those methods. They include using “adver-games” featuring the products, directing kids to their products to retrieve “codes” and incentivizing them to invite their friends to play; using GPS tracking and notifications to push coupons and discounts to them on their phones based on their locations; using social media to track and reach them and encourage them to influence others in their peer network; and collecting and analyzing kids’ personal data via mobile apps to better target them and build loyalty. Creepy. Read more
Nutrition News: Best Metabolism Booster; Sleep, Stress and Belly Fat; and Gardening and Kids’ Healthby Amy Reiter in Food News, September 30, 2016
Reaping What We Sow
Want to raise kids who are lifelong healthy eaters? Hand them a trowel, some seeds and a watering can, and point them to the garden. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Florida suggests that college kids who either gardened when they were kids or currently garden consumed more fruits and vegetables — 2.9 cups daily, on average, about a half-cup more — than those who did not. “We found that if your parents gardened but you did not, just watching them did not make a difference in how much fruits and vegetables you eat in college,” lead author Anne Mathews told HealthDay News. “Hands-on experience seems to matter.” Read more
Eating and reading
You want your kids to eat healthy for all sorts of reasons. Here’s a new one: It may make them better readers. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Jyvaskyla found that students’ reading skills showed greater improvement between first and third grade if they ate a diet composed primarily of vegetables and fruits (especially berries), along with fish, whole grains and unsaturated fats, and ate very few sugary treats and red meats, HealthDay News reports. “The associations of diet quality with reading skills were … independent of many confounding factors, such as socioeconomic status, physical activity, body adiposity [fat] and physical fitness,” study author Eero Haapala said in a study news release. But don’t worry too much if your kid is a picky eater — the study showed only a correlation, not cause and effect.
The hottest new trend in coffee couldn’t be farther from a cup of joe. It’s overflowing with nutrients, is gluten-free and helps to reduce food waste. Should you get your hands on some coffee flour?
What Is Coffee Flour?
Coffee flour is derived from the byproducts of coffee production. Coffee beans are encased within a small fruit. Once the beans are removed, the remaining fruit is typically discarded as waste. But now, this fruit pulp is getting salvaged, dried and ground into flour. Recommended uses include baking as well as incorporation into soups, sauces and beverages.
Coffee flour does not possess a strong coffee flavor but does have similarly deep and earthy characteristics. There is a floral undertone that resembles tea more than coffee. It also has a little bit of caffeine; according to Marx Pantry, each tablespoon of coffee flour contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as a third a cup of black coffee (they sell coffee flour for $9/pound).
A small amount of coffee flour contains a huge amount of nutrients. One tablespoon holds almost 10 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium and nearly 13 percent of daily iron. This plant-based flour is also gluten-free and an excellent source of fiber. Similar to coffee, coffee flour is also rich in cell-protecting antioxidants. Read more
Certain kinds of algae are already commonplace in our diets. For example, your sushi rolls and musubi are wrapped in seaweed (a marine algae), the food additive carrageenan is derived from seaweed, and algae-derived Omega-3s are used in supplements for those who shun fish oil. But this humble sea plant suddenly seems poised for its superfood moment. “Algae is earth’s original superfood,” says Mark Brooks, senior vice president of food ingredients at TerraVia, makers of Thrive algae oil. “Before kale, chia, acai and quinoa, there was algae.”
There are plenty of good reasons to eat more algae, in terms of both nutrition and sustainability. On the sustainability front, algae, which can grow up to 30 times faster than corn, doesn’t require a lot of space to produce. “Algae doesn’t require fertile soil, fossil fuels, inorganic fertilizers or pesticides in order to grow,” says Mark R. Edwards, an agribusiness professor emeritus at Arizona State University. “Algae can deliver superior nutrition without pollution or waste.” Read more