by Natalie Rizzo in Food and Nutrition Experts, January 14, 2017
by Amy Reiter in Food News, September 23, 2016
Probiotic supplements claim to improve digestive and immune health, but how can you know if they really do what they say? I decided to do a 30-day probiotic experiment to test out these claims.
The facts about probiotics
Your gut contains more than 100 trillion live bacteria, known as probiotics. Although bacteria are generally regarded as a bad thing, probiotics are considered “good bacteria” and are essential for a healthy digestive tract and immune system function. The body does a good job of maintaining its own probiotic levels, but certain things like an unhealthy diet, undue stress or a harsh round of antibiotics, can cause imbalances or disturbances in your natural “good bacteria”. That’s where probiotic supplements come into play. In one small capsule, you can reintroduce billions of live cultures with diverse strains to your gut.
My 30-day test
Although I eat a pretty healthy diet and exercise regularly, I decided to take a probiotic for 30 days to see what all the hype was about. Specifically, I paid very close attention to changes in my digestive tract or immune system. Although I had seen the research on the benefits of probiotics, I was pretty skeptical about taking any type of supplement (since they are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)). Yet, I did my homework and found that there was little to no downside to taking a probiotic. Before we dive in, I want to note that my experience is completely anecdotal and may not be the same for everyone. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, July 15, 2016
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.
by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, July 12, 2016
This is a job for Veggie-Man!
As parents know, it can be tough to get kids to eat their greens. But a new study indicates that the methods marketers employ to sell junk food to kids can be used to compel them to eat fruits and vegetables. For the study, elementary-school kids were divvied into groups that either received no intervention, had banners featuring vegetable superheroes posted near their cafeteria salad bars, were shown (really rather cute) TV cartoons depicting those same veggie superhero characters, or were shown both the TV cartoons and the banners. The TV segments alone barely budged veggie consumption, but the banners increased it by 90.5 percent. And when kids were shown both the banners and the TV ads, their veggie intake shot up by 239.2 percent. “It’s possible to use marketing techniques to do some good things,” study author David R. Just, of Cornell University, told The New York Times. Read more
by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, January 28, 2016
Looking for better digestion in a bottle? Here are some important tips to keep in mind when shopping for probiotic supplements.
What Are Probiotics?
Everyone’s gut is populated with bacteria. Some of these microorganisms have the potential to be harmful, but many of them are beneficial and help protect the digestive tract. The benefits of these “bugs” extend beyond digestion, contributing to healthy skin, blood and immunity as well. Probiotics can be found in supplement form as well as naturally existing in cultured and fermented foods. Common food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and other fermented items. Probiotic supplements are most often available in capsule form but can also be found in liquid tinctures. More and more foods are being fortified with probiotics, including chocolate bars, beverages and breakfast cereals.
5 Tips for Buying Probiotics
The supplement industry remains poorly regulated, so it’s up to consumers to choose wisely. Since you can’t rely simply on what’s on the label, here are some tips.
1) Look for additional ingredients.
Many supplements contain more than just probiotics, and consumers should be mindful of other ingredients in case of allergies and to avoid experiencing interactions with medications or taking in toxic doses of nutrients they are already getting enough of. Read more
by Amy Reiter in Food News, August 8, 2014
There’s much talk of gut health swirling in the media, but it can be tricky to make sense of it all. As it turns out, your intestines do hold the key to the health of your entire body. If you’re a victim of tummy troubles, here are some tips to help you go with your gut.
by Dana Angelo White in Food News, February 13, 2014
In this week’s news: School bake-sale restrictions spark a tempest in a muffin tin; homemade yogurt is whey better than the store-bought kind; and veganism gets a high-profile new cheerleader.
Bake-Sale Ban: Half-Baked?
Ah, the beauty of the school bake sale: Hoovering homemade cookies somehow seems virtuous when the money is going to a good cause. (“It’s all for the kids!”) What to make, then, of reports that federal restrictions aiming to curb childhood obesity have led to a “ban” on treat-peddling school fundraisers? “In dozens of states, bake sales must adhere to nutrition requirements that could replace cupcakes and brownies with fruit cups and granola bars,” the Wall Street Journal warned. The Washington Post, however, was quick to point out that the states, not the federal government, will dictate the number of nutritionally questionable bake sales schools can have. Georgia, for instance, will allow 30 bake sales per year per school — which comes to 75,000 cupcake sprees state-wide annually.
by Dana Angelo White in Have You Tried, March 10, 2012
In this week’s news: vending machines that dispense fresh salads; another pro to probiotics; and yes, there’s something called the werewolf diet (howwwl!).
Farm to Fork, By Way of the Vending Machine
A Chicago businessman is attempting to reinvent vending machine food through a business called Farmer’s Fridge. Offerings include jars filled with the likes of Lemon Pepper Chicken, North Napa Salad (with avocado, grapes and pistachios) and Greek Yogurt with Berries, combining upmarket tastes with grab-n-go convenience (salads start at $8). The fresh goodies are delivered to machines daily.
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, Taste Test, May 12, 2010
A “cultured milk product” may sound foreign, but if you’ve ever eaten yogurt, you’re closer to kefir than you thought. Find out what makes it just a little more special.
What Is Kefir?
Kefir has the mild tang of yogurt, only with a thinner and more drinkable consistency. Plain is the traditional variety but its increasing popularity has caused manufacturers to produce flavors like cherry, strawberry, chocolate, cappuccino and pomegranate. Low-carb flavors are also available but are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
Kefir is available in non-fat, low-fat and whole milk forms. Brands such as Lifeway also offer frozen, scoop-able versions, with a texture similar to frozen yogurt.
by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, January 26, 2009
Quick, easy, portable and healthy — yogurt is an all-around favorite snack. But with supermarket shelves stacked with the stuff, shopping for yogurt can get confusing. After some tasting and label reading, check out what we found.
See the yogurt taste-test results »
“Probiotic” — seems like that word pops up more and more in the dairy aisle these days. Many foods are sporting probiotic labels and promising digestive bliss, but does this bacteria deserve all the hype? Here are the basics.