From the May 2015 Issue

EN’s Probiotic Primer

Your gut is home to trillions of friendly microbes, which are primarily bacteria, but also include some yeasts, which support health. You acquire these probiotics naturally, at birth, but many factors can affect the composition and number of your gut microbes over time, such as diet, antibiotic use, and stress. Thus, many people benefit from supplemental probiotics.\n

Current Issue

Safety of Non-Bovine Milks; Nettle Plants

Are milks from other animals, such as goat and camel, healthy?

Intact Whole Grains vs. Whole Grain Flour

Whole grains are essential for good health. That you know. But in what form should you eat these grains? Does it make a difference if you consume them in their intact, whole kernel form, as with wheat berries, for example, or as a ground whole grain flour, such as whole wheat flour? The answer is both simple and complex.

Take Supplements Safely

More than half of Americans use dietary supplements, including multivitamins and botanical supplements, in tablet, capsule, liquid and powder form, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While dietary supplements—products intended to add further nutritional value to the diet—may seem like a “natural” solution to health protection, as well as an insurance policy to guard against nutrient deficiencies, you should make sure you use them safely and appropriately.

Plant Waters Make a Splash

With experts cautioning that sugar is a cause of obesity and chronic disease, combined with the trend towards all things “natural,” it’s no surprise that consumers are turning to plant waters, such as coconut, maple, and birch water. These waters appeal to our desire for healthier, less-processed alternatives to overly sweetened ready-to-drink beverages. But are they as healthy as they sound? \n

Being Underweight is Risky Business

While headlines often sound the alarm on the dangers of being overweight, less attention is given to the two percent of U.S. adults who are underweight. Their ranks may be smaller, but the health risks that affect many people who are underweight—a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5—are significant.

Veggie Round Up

When it comes to making sound nutrition choices, many would like it to be black and white. This food is good; this food is bad. This fruit is the worst; this vegetable is the best. However, healthy eating isn’t all black and white. Eating nutritiously is all about selecting a variety of wholesome foods. When it comes to vegetables, certainly all are good for you, but some are stronger in specific nutritional contributions, for example, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and phytochemicals—plant compounds with health benefits. A nutrient-rich diet that protects against disease is packed with a variety of different vegetables.

Nutrition is More Than Skin Deep

Healthy skin reflects overall health, which means it can be influenced, for better or for worse, by the nutrients in your diet. A poor diet can contribute to inflammation, oxidative stress, and glycation (bonding of a protein to a sugar molecule), three factors that contribute to skin aging as well as age-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Eating to Protect Your Kidneys

Your kidneys work hard every day to filter out wastes from your bloodstream. Unfortunately, an estimated twenty million Americans have impaired kidney function, and many don’t even know it. Most people won’t progress to complete kidney failure, but kidneys that don’t work well raise the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis and anemia. Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in America. But if we take care of our kidneys, they’ll take care of us, and diet can help.

Pass the Snow Peas, Please!

Snow peas were developed in Holland in the 16th century despite their enormous popularity in Asian cuisines—even being referred to as “Chinese peas” in some cookbooks. They traveled from Holland to England, and then on to China and other countries. Deceptively delicate in appearance, snow peas are sturdy and thrive in many climates during spring and fall, even surviving light snow, which contributed to their name. In France, snow and sugar snap peas—both edible pod peas—are collectively called mange tout or “eat all”, because their pods lack the inedible fiber found in most other pea pods.

Eating Organic Means Less Pesticide Exposure

Previous studies have shown that the nutritional content of organically grown produce may not differ significantly from conventionally grown produce, but data have suggested that organic produce may have lower pesticide residues, findings which are confirmed in a new study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Diet, Exercise May be More Effective than Meds for BP

Lifestyle approaches, such as reducing salt intake and saturated fat consumption, and increasing physical activity may be more effective than taking blood pressure-lowering medication, according to researchers from the University of Liverpool.

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.

New Books