December 2014

View or print a copy of the entire December 2014 issue of Environmental Nutrition

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Beware of Oxidized Oils

Subscribers Only - You’ve probably heard that mono- and polyunsaturated fats, like those in olive oil, nuts, and fish are a heart-healthy choice, but concern is rising that, if not stored and used properly, these foods and oils actually could be bad for your body.

Research Roundup: December 2014

U.S. diet quality improves. Americans improved their diets between 1999 and 2010, consuming fewer trans fats, less sugar-sweetened beverages, and more fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and polyunsaturated fats, according to a Harvard study. Researchers used data from more than 29,000 adults, aged 20 to 85, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Using a diet quality rating of zero (least healthy) to 110 (healthiest), the average dietary scores rose from just below 40 in 1999 to almost 47 from 2009 to 2010.

Tips for a Successful Elimination Diet

Subscribers Only - Change only one thing at a time. Don’t, for example, start a new vitamin regimen during either the elimination or challenge phases.

Slow Down Oxidation

Subscribers Only - Air, heat and light speed up oxidation. Here are some tips for slowing it down:

Fill Your Nutrient Shortfall

Subscribers Only - When scientists observe that lots of people within our population don’t meet their needs for particular nutrients, they are dubbed “shortfall nutrients.” Here are four essential nutrients most likely to be insufficient in your diet, based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and simple strategies on how to fill those gaps.

Eat More Plants to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

More and more studies reveal that the best diet for the environment—and for you—is one packed with plants and light on animal foods. This is intuitive, as it takes less resources—water, fossil fuel, acreage—to cultivate plant foods, such as legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, compared with animal foods, which consume large amounts of grains, seeds, and water before they become animal proteins, such as meat and cheese. In addition, animal agriculture creates other environmental concerns surrounding issues, like excess manure and methane emissions.

Watching “Action” Shows Leads to Overeating

Research increasingly shows an association between television watching, higher food consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle. According to a study from Cornell University, the type of movie and TV show watched may influence the amount viewers eat, and action programs could lead people to eat twice as much as when watching other types of programs.

Antibiotics in Apples; Passionfruit Peel for Joint Health

Subscribers Only - Q. Are antibiotics in apples a health concern?

Elimination Diets Root Out Food Intolerances

Subscribers Only - Elimination diets are all the rage, as more people look to hidden food intolerances as the source of their ill health. Could your food choices make you sick, tired, moody, constipated, or achy? Could they give you headaches, a rash or make it hard for you to concentrate? Many people think so, and are eliminating a large number of foods or even whole food groups in their quest for more energy, better skin and improved wellbeing.

Top 5 Spices for Health

Subscribers Only - Herbs and spices not only punch up food’s appeal, they also can boost your immune system to help your body fight disease. Some herbs and spices have specific benefits, such as calming an upset stomach or aiding in blood sugar control. It’s no coincidence that countries, such as China and India, which focus on a veritable medicine chest of colorful, powerful herbs and spices at the center of their recipes and dishes, have lower rates of many chronic diseases. These potent plant flavorings, which are naturally void of sodium, sugar and fat, also help keep food from spoiling due to their anti-microbial properties.

Enlightened Coffee Creamers

Subscribers Only - If you like your coffee black, your life is easy. But if you favor a hint of creaminess in your brew, you know the options have dramatically increased in recent years. While choices used to be limited to a few powdered creamers, liquid creamers, and half and half, you can now find entire rows of boxes and bottles filled with an array of flavors and varieties. But, what exactly do these creamers contain, and can they fit into a healthy eating plan?

Crazy for Carrots

Subscribers Only - The folklore. Carrots were first cultivated about 1,100 years ago in the Afghanistan region, but seeds from its predecessor, the wild carrot, have been found in Europe dating back 5,000 years, when they were not grown as a vegetable, but as a medicinal herb and aphrodisiac by ancient Greeks and Romans. The first domesticated carrots were purple, yellow, red and white—but not orange. Over time, they have been domesticated from a tough and bitter root to the familiar crisp and sweet garden vegetable we adore today.

Alcohol: To Drink or Not to Drink

Subscribers Only - Holiday celebrations, happy hours, cocktail parties. It would be nice to think the alcoholic beverages ever-present at social events are good for us. The news media typically makes the most of new studies suggesting a link between a daily glass of wine and a healthier heart or other health benefits. Such positive headlines may lead you to develop an overly favorable view of alcoholic beverages, but they clearly have both pros and cons. …