From the March 2016 Issue

Breaking Up with Salt

“I love you, salt, but you’re breaking my heart.” This is the plea from the American Heart Association for Americans to pledge to “break up” with salt. Almost 81,000 people have done just that. But, it seems breaking up is hard to do. That’s because salt is everywhere. It is a preservative in any number of food products, a texture enhancer in breads and cheese, and a binder and color enhancer in processed meats. Not to mention, it makes food taste really good.

Current Issue

Eat to See Clearly

We often take our sight for granted until it starts to fade. More than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—the top cause of severe vision loss and blindness in adults over age 60 in this country—affects as many as 1 in 3. Research suggests that people who eat lots of leafy greens, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables, may have less risk of developing cataracts or AMD.

Healthy Fats and Whole Grains Cut Heart Disease

Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, specifically, polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), the kind found in walnuts, corn oil, sunflower oil, and fatty fish, and/or whole grains, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.

Plumping Meat; All About “Oil Pulling”

Who doesn’t want to bite into a succulent piece of chicken or receive kudos for cooking a juicy piece of meat? To make certain that your efforts in the kitchen are rewarded with tender delicious food, raw meat and poultry products are sometimes enhanced, marinated or plumped with injected water, salt, and other flavorings and additives to keep the product moist and flavorful during cooking. Oil pulling is a folk remedy that involves swishing a small amount of oil, usually coconut or sesame, in one’s mouth for one to 20 minutes. The oil is not swallowed, but is spit out. The practice originated in India as part of Ayurvedic medicine and is common today with alternative medicine practitioners.

11 Steps to the Best, Healthiest Diet

What’s the best diet for the health of people and the planet? That's the top question raised at the Oldways Finding Common Ground summit held in Boston, where more than 75 leading nutrition experts developed these nutrition recommendations.

The Acrylamide-Cancer Link

Humans have been eating acrylamide, a chemical that forms in some foods when they are exposed to high heat, for as long as we have been cooking, but it wasn’t until 2002 that its presence in foods was discovered. The Maillard reaction, a naturally occurring reaction between specific proteins and carbohydrates when heated, gives breads their golden crusts and potato chips their crispy crunch, but under certain conditions it also gives rise to acrylamide, classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Treating Candida Infections with Diet

Websites blame the yeast Candida albicans for everything from fatigue to brain fog, suggesting that a special diet can “eliminate” this condition. EN researches the truth to these claims. Candida yeasts normally live on the mucous membranes and skin without causing problems, but sometimes overgrowth can cause a fungal infection (candidiasis) in the body, such as in the gastrointestinal tract, throat, and vagina. If it enters the blood stream sepsis can occur, which is very serious. Candidiasis also may play a role in inflammation, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

B Vitamins on the Brain

Cognitive function, including memory, mental speed, and problem solving ability, declines gradually over the life span in most people. Although you can’t completely prevent this, B vitamins, particularly folate and vitamins B12 and B6, play specific roles in keeping your mind sharp. EN takes a closer look at how these vitamins may help your brain function at its best.

Breakfast Cereal Time

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it provides the first source of nutrition after an overnight fast. Therefore, choosing nutrient-packed foods is crucial. Protein and fiber help satisfy you, carbs provide you with energy, and vitamins and minerals give you a head start on meeting your daily nutrient needs. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereal can fit the criteria for a healthy breakfast perfectly, if you choose wisely.

Heritage Wheat is Back

Heritage wheat varieties—the types our ancestors ate—are growing in popularity as consumers seek out less processed, more natural foods. While modern wheat varieties (T. aestiyum and T. durum), major staples in Western diets, have been selected and cultivated for desirable traits, such as larger yields, ancient varieties, like emmer, Kamut khorasan wheat, spelt, and einkorn, have remained largely unchanged since humans discovered them centuries ago. However, the true health benefits of heritage varieties have more to do with the fact they are consumed in their whole grain form.

Grab a Grapefruit Today!

Long associated with weight loss, grapefruit studies have shown mixed results. A recent review of studies on the effectiveness of grapefruit consumption on overweight and obese individuals showed no significant difference between those eating grapefruit and those who did not. However, the analysis showed a significant decrease in blood pressure. Regular grapefruit juice consumption also benefits arterial stiffness in middle-aged, post-menopausal women.

Research Roundup: March 2016

Consuming tree nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, macadamias, pecans, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts, lowers total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and ApoB. Increased intake of fruit, including berries, apples, and pears, and vegetables, including cauliflower and soy, is linked with lower risk of weight gain. Consuming caffeine in the amount found in a double espresso three hours before bedtime can induce a 40-minute delay in the body’s 24-hour internal clock.

About EN

Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning, independent newsletter (no sponsors, no advertisers) that opens your eyes to what you put in your mouth. Are you floundering in the swamp of conflicting advice on low-carb diets, vitamin E, eating fish, genetically modified foods? EN offers authoritative, reliable, practical guidance on what works and what doesn't in balancing your diet to protect... More.

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