by Natalie Rizzo in Food and Nutrition Experts, Food News, January 11, 2017
by Dana Angelo White in Food and Nutrition Experts, Food News, Trends, January 2, 2017
Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about the term microbiome, which refers to a collection of microorganisms or “good bacteria” that live inside your gut. The microbiome is a relatively new term in the nutrition world, and it’s rapidly becoming an increasingly important field of study among scientists. Millions of dollars are being poured into research to reach a better understanding of the microbiome and its role in disease. Here’s what you should know:
About the microbiome
The human body contains 10-100 trillion microbial cells, which consist of about 1000 different strains of bacteria that make up the microbiome. It exists in the skin and mouth, but the largest and most diverse part of the microbiome is found in the gut. Beginning at birth, a human’s microbiome is formed with the microorganisms from the mother’s birth canal and skin. Breast milk is also rich with good bacteria that populate the baby’s gut. By two years old, the adult microbiome is almost fully established, but it can change throughout the lifetime. An individual’s microbiome is not just a random collection of bacteria; each organism works together to create a thriving healthy environment inside the body.
Are all microbiomes the same?
Studies suggest that an individual’s microbiome is unique to them. However, your skin microbiome will be similar to other peoples’ skin microbiomes, and your gut microbiome will be similar to others’ gut microbiomes. The Human Microbiome Project, funded by the National Institute for Health, was established in 2008 to characterize the strains in the human microbiome and understand their role in human health and disease. Read more
by Amy Gorin in Food News, December 10, 2016
Proteins derived from plants are getting more recognition as many folks strive to have a more plant-based diet. At the forefront of this trend is protein from legumes like peas. Find out if the newfound popularity is worth the hype.
Peas As a Protein Source
One cup of raw green peas contains 8 grams of protein. Yellow or green split peas are also often used for pea-based products; this dried version contains 48 grams in the same 1 cup portion. Depending on the product, you might find either of these options added so check ingredient lists for clarification.
The type of protein found in peas is different than animal derived sources. As with most plant-based foods, some amino acids are missing, but peas do contain three important muscle building “branched chain” amino acids, leulcine, isoleucine and valine.
Pea protein powder has become a popular additive in snack foods and bars. Extracting the protein from food to powder does require some processing so the nutrient profile will differ slightly from the whole food version. Pea protein does have an advantage compared to some other popular protein supplements (like whey or casein) as it contains more hunger fighting fiber.
by Toby Amidor in Food News, Trends, December 4, 2016
Garlic isn’t only a tasty addition to stir-fries, salads and more. It’s also good for us: It may help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, and research shows that regular intake may help lower the risk of certain cancers, like endometrial and prostate cancers.
But all potential health benefits aside, garlic has one major drawback: It can cause garlic breath that lasts up to 24 hours! Thankfully, a recent preliminary study in the journal Food Chemistry found a potential way to help diminish this. A study participant first ate garlic, immediately followed by apple (raw, juiced or heated). Study authors then measured the participant’s levels of garlic volatiles (aka garlic breath) using a technique called spectrometry. The test was then repeated with lettuce (raw or heated), mint leaves (raw or juiced) and green tea.
Garlic breath significantly decreased after the participants ate raw apple, raw lettuce and raw mint leaves. Study authors believe this is due to specific components in the foods that help in the deodorizing process. Although the apple juice, mint juice, heated apple and heated lettuce were helpful in reducing bad breath, their impact wasn’t as great as that of the raw produce and herbs — and the green tea didn’t affect breath at all. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, November 23, 2016
Commonly seen as a supplement, moringa (botanical name: moringa oleifera) is now being added to foods. Find out where you can find these foods, and whether they’re worth the money.
Moringa is a plant native to the sub-Himalayan areas of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The plant can withstand both terrible drought and also mild frost, which means it can grow in a wide variety of areas throughout the world. You could consider it a “super plant” because it can withstand such harsh weather conditions.
The entire plant, including the leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds and root, contains a plethora of nutrients, which is why moringa has become such a popular supplement. The leaves, which can be eaten fresh or dried, contain minerals like calcium, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron and copper. The plant also contains vitamin A, numerous B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E, along with protein and healthy fat. The plant also provides numerous plant chemicals that help fight and prevent disease, such as flavonoids and saponins.
Although advocates claim that moringa can help conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, a 2012 review paper published in Frontiers in Pharmacology determined that there isn’t enough scientific research and data to show how much moringa is safe to take and what the side effects of consuming it are. Read more
by Toby Amidor in Food News, Trends, November 13, 2016
Is it time for budget- and health-minded beverage buyers to switch to seltzer or stick to water? If you live in a growing number of U.S. cities, sucking down sodas and other sugary beverages will now cost you more, thanks to new taxes.
Here’s a rundown of cities and counties that have enacted soda taxes, starting with five that did so just this month:
Cook County, Ill.: The populous Illinois county that is home to Chicago will see a penny-per-ounce beverage tax — over and above the usual sales tax — added to the purchase of sweetened drinks such as soda, iced tea, lemonade and sports drinks, whether bottled, canned or from a fountain. The tax, which goes into effect July 1, was approved by the Cook County Board on Thursday, November 10, and is expected to raise $224 million in revenue per year.
San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif.: Voters in these Bay Area municipalities overwhelmingly passed soda taxes on Tuesday, November 8, in an effort to lower rates of diabetes and obesity — and raise revenues. Read more
by Sally Wadyka in Food News, November 12, 2016
This year’s Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo took place in Boston, where I got a firsthand view of the latest foods that you’ll be seeing at your local market. Here’s the inside scoop on eight of these trends.
The hottest trend in protein comes from pea powder. Bob’s Red Mill sells Pea Protein Powder to add to smoothies, shakes and baked goods. It contains 21 grams of protein per serving and is gluten-free. Earth Balance has also released a Protein Peanut Blend, which is a combo of peanuts and pea protein. It provides 180 calories and 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving.
Healthier Vending Machines
PepsiCo showcased its new innovative vending machine at the conference. Hello Goodness (pictured above) is a temperature-controlled vending machine that offers healthier on-the-go snack foods like Smartfood Delight Popcorn, Sabra Ready-to-Eat Hummus Cups and Quaker Real Medley Bars. On the machine is a touchscreen that allows customers to find product nutrition info, food and beverage pairing suggestions, and an Apple Pay option. Several thousand of these machines have been placed in select health care, recreational, transportation, governmental, workplace and educational facilities.
The FODMAP diet trend, though created for those with irritable bowel syndrome, has grown in mainstream popularity. Fody is a company that has created FODMAP-approved products, including marinara sauce, salsa and BBQ sauce. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, November 4, 2016
It’s hard not to feel virtuous after downing a bottle of vegetable juice — like Naked Juice’s Kale Blazer. After all, it’s packed with nothing but leafy green goodness, right? Well, not exactly. In fact, the first ingredient in Kale Blazer is orange juice, and the third is apple juice. Which means that, even though neither of those fruits is pictured on the label, together, orange and apple juice make up a significant portion of the so-called green blend.
And that’s exactly why food industry watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has recently filed a class-action lawsuit against PepsiCo (which owns Naked Juice) claiming that the company is misrepresenting the products’ ingredient profiles. The lawsuit alleges that consumers are being duped into paying high prices for premium, nutrient-rich ingredients — like kale, acai berries, mango and blueberries — when they’re really getting mostly inexpensive and not-as-nutritious orange and apple juices. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, October 28, 2016
Slow … down
If family dinner with your kids sometimes feels like a race to the clean-plate finish line, nutrition educator Casey Seidenberg knows how you feel. Writing in The Washington Post, Seidenberg suggests explaining to your kids, as she has to her sons, the digestive ramifications of all that rushing: “shoveling our food creates all kinds of issues, such as indigestion, constipation, inflammation and malabsorption of nutrients, which can then contribute to larger health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and heart disease.” So it makes a lot of health sense to eat meals a bit slower, rather than wolfing them down. Take a moment to “cherish” the way your meal smells and tastes, she advises; then chew the heck out of it. “In this fast and furious world, any time to slow down together sounds awfully nice,” she says. Hard to argue. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, October 21, 2016
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
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