June 2015

View or Print a Copy of the Entire June 2015 Issue of Environmental Nutrition

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Let Star Fruit Shine

Subscribers Only - 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.

Eating to Prevent Ovarian Cancer

Subscribers Only - 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.

Research Roundup: June 2015

Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure. Drinking beetroot juice may be an effective way to reduce blood pressure to normal levels among hypertensive individuals, according to English researchers. Study participants, who had elevated blood pressure, either were taking medication or not taking medication. The participants were assigned to drink 8.5 ounces of beetroot juice daily for four weeks or take a placebo. Individuals drinking the beetroot juice found a decrease of about 8/4 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury,) which brought most of them back to normal levels.

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.

Beware of Monster Meals

Subscribers Only - 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.

The Well-Dressed Salad

Subscribers Only - 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?

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.

Eat Whole Grains for a Longer Life

Subscribers Only - 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.

Vitamin C Health Update

Subscribers Only - 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!

The Whole Truth About Whole Food Supplements

Increasingly, people want to know where their food comes from. They want to know who grew their lettuce, if the eggs were from cage-free chickens, and how the beef cattle were raised. So, it seems only natural that the same curiosity might apply to dietary supplements. This explains the emergence of whole food dietary supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, and botanicals that promise they originate from more “whole” sources.

Health Benefits Aplenty in the Nordic Diet

Subscribers Only - 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.

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: