From the June 2015 Issue

5 Steps for Feeding Your Brain

The fountain of youth for your brain could very well be in your refrigerator. Mounting scientific evidence suggests that what you eat plays an important role in learning and memory as you age, as well as your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Take these five protective steps:

Current Issue

Chokeberries for Health; Whole Milk vs. Fat-Free Milk

The chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is an edible fruit of the deciduous shrub in the rose family, often used as an ornamental plant due to its resilience and color. Chokeberries are increasingly popular as a food source because they are rich in the phytochemical group called polyphenols. These antioxidants scavenge the body for damaging free radicals and aid in chronic disease prevention. Varieties include red and purple, but black chokeberries have one of the highest concentrations of polyphenols, especially the disease-fighting group known as anthocyanins.

Vitamin C Health Update

When you hear “vitamin C”, do you think about oranges and fending off colds? Think again! Many people are surprised to learn that one-half cup of red peppers has twice as much vitamin C as an orange, and this versatile vitamin may be better at fighting cancer and cardiovascular disease than colds!

Health Benefits Aplenty in the Nordic Diet

You may soon be adding herring, rutabaga, and lingonberries to your shopping list, thanks to recent findings and the emerging popularity of the New Nordic Diet. This dietary pattern is based on the traditional, regional foods—fish, game, berries, whole grains, and root vegetables—of Scandinavian countries, which include Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden. This eating style has gained momentum because nutrition researchers and chefs from this region have come together to discuss the increasing rates of obesity and chronic illnesses in their countries, which are linked to changing eating patterns.

The Well-Dressed Salad

The ancient Egyptians were happy with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar on their vegetables. In mid-twentieth century America, Ranch, French, and Thousand Island salad dressings were all the rage. These days, salad dressings fill almost half a grocery store aisle with a diverse array of creations, pairing traditional flavors with a modern twist, such as Asiago garlic, wasabi Dijon, and pomegranate balsamic. But how do these salad dressings impact the nutritional value of your daily salad greens?

Beware of Monster Meals

It’s fun going out to eat! You can enjoy a delicious meal with someone special, with no worries about meal preparation and clean up. And we’re eating out a lot these days; people spend 50 percent of their eating dollars on foods consumed away from home, such as from coffee shops, cafeterias, sit-down restaurants, and fast food chains, according to data released by the USDA Economic Research Service. However, if you forego a home-cooked meal for a restaurant entrée or even “just” an entrée salad, you may unintentionally add unwanted calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt to your day.

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. \n

Eating to Prevent Ovarian Cancer

More than 21,000 U.S. women may expect a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2015, making it the fifth most common cause of cancer death among women. Ovarian cancer often has no symptoms at early stages, so the disease is generally advanced when diagnosed, with only a 45 percent rate of five-year survival.

Let Star Fruit Shine

The folklore. The beautiful star fruit—averrhoa carambola—is a tropical fruit that comes from a tree native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Today, this fruit—named star fruit because the distinctive ridges running down the fruit’s skin form a star shape when sliced—are cultivated throughout many tropical and subtropical areas of the world, such as Florida, Central America, and Hawaii. Historically, star fruit was believed to help treat a number of ailments, such as kidney and bladder problems, fevers, eyesores, hangovers, throat pain, tooth sores, colic, indigestion, and jaundice. The crushed leaves have been applied as an external treatment for chickenpox and ringworm, the roots have been consumed as an antidote for poison, and the juice has been used to clean and polish metals and remove stains from clothing.

Eat Whole Grains for a Longer Life

Despite current grain-free diet fads, hundreds of studies have found that people who regularly consume whole grains enjoy a plethora of health benefits, such as lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Mediterranean Diet Slashes Heart Disease

Close adherence to a Mediterranean diet can reduce heart disease by up to 47 percent, according to a study of 2,500 Greek adults in the general population (aged 18 to 89.) Researchers found that those who adhered most closely to a Mediterranean diet—rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, and olive oil, and moderate in wine—over a 10-year period had the most benefit in terms of heart health, compared to similar adults who did not follow this diet. In fact, on a scale of 1 to 55 related to diet adherence, each one-point increase in adherence was linked with a 3 percent drop in heart disease risk. This study highlights that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for all types of people, regardless of age, gender, and health status.

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.

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