April 2015

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

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Ridding Meat of Antibiotics

Subscribers Only - Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health issue. It can limit your treatment options when you’re sick, raise your healthcare costs, and increase the number, severity, and duration of some infections. Today there is evidence and consensus among scientific and medical groups that the use of antibiotics in food animal production contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans. A CDC report published in 2013 estimated that in the US, more than two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 dying as a result.

New Dietary Guidelines for Health Coming Soon

Every five years, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, our nation’s nutrition experts, gather together to review the evidence gathered over the preceding five years and put forth new recommendations for optimal eating, known as the Dietary Guidelines. And 2015 is the year for a new diet strategy to help get our nation on track. Recently released excerpts from the DGAC show a glimpse of where we stand—and where we need to be. Americans are not eating enough fruit, whole grains, and vegetables. And we’re eating too much added sugars, refined grains, sodium, saturated fat, and calories. Obesity and its many risk factors are still a concern—65 percent of adult females, 70 percent of adult males, and nearly one in three children (2-19 years) are overweight or obese.

The Scoop on Maca; Understanding “Ultra-Processed” Foods

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is an Andean root vegetable in the cruciferous family, most commonly consumed today in powder form. It’s believed to enhance sexual function, fertility, and drive. In another era, Inca warriors ate maca before battle to increase energy and stamina. Also called “Peruvian ginseng” because of similar claims related to vigor and libido (not botanical similarities), maca is a supplement typically added to smoothies.

Plant Waters Make a Splash

Subscribers Only - 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?

Learning from Ancient Ayurveda Diet Traditions

Subscribers Only - Ayurveda, a 5,000-year old ancient practice from India, is rising in popularity in the Western world. The name “ayu” translates to life, and “veda” to knowledge or science. The primary belief of the practice is that nourishment for the body also is nourishment for the mind and soul. In Ayurveda, it’s not just what you eat that matters; it’s also when, how and why you eat. Ayurveda uses diet, yoga, herbs, and spices to restore balance and harmony within the body.

Plant-Based Hormone Therapy in Menopause

Subscribers Only - Hot flashes, disrupted sleep, vaginal dryness, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, bone loss: These issues are all too common when women’s estrogen levels drop and hormones become imbalanced during the transition to menopause. However, for women who desire natural solutions, there are good alternatives.

Wrap It Up

Subscribers Only - Tortillas and wraps may seem like an ber healthy way to enjoy a sandwich. They’re thinner than bread, so they must have fewer calories, right? Well, there are plenty of tortillas and wraps that do contain fewer calories than a couple of slices of whole wheat bread, but they run on the small side. If you order a wrap from a restaurant—some nearly a foot long—chances are you’d be better off, calorie-wise, with good old-fashioned bread. You could end up getting 300 calories or more just from the wrap vs. 160 from two slices of bread.

4 Uncommon–and Fabulous–Whole Grains

You should dish up whole grains as often as you can, because they’re good for you. But would you like to spice up your meals with a new whole grain? Well, EN has the solution: What’s old is new again, with these four ancient, highly nutritious grains that also happen to be naturally gluten-free and low in sodium. They’re also rich in health-promoting phytonutrients, such as tannins, anthocyanins, and phytosterols. Because these grains have no gluten, you’ll need to use a binding agent like xanthan gum or cornstarch when you use the flours for baking.

Fight Cancer with Fiber

Subscribers Only - Fitting fiber into your diet is a cancer-preventive strategy. Fiber most clearly protects against colorectal cancer—risk drops 10 percent for each 10-gram increase in fiber. Analysis combining 16 population studies also links higher fiber with lower breast cancer risk. Because fiber is a component of foods with nutrients and plant compounds (phytochemicals) that may help reduce cancer risk, it’s difficult to isolate fiber-specific protection.

A is for Asparagus

Subscribers Only - The folklore. A harbinger of spring, the name asparagus (asparagaceae) comes from an old Greek word meaning “stalk or shoot.” The plant is a member of the lily family, which originated in the eastern Mediterranean where it still grows wild. Asparagus was used in traditional medicine to treat all manner of conditions, such as heart ailments, dropsy, toothaches, skin conditions, bee stings, fertility, and even hangovers.

Link Between Health and Sustainability

Experts increasingly recommend a shift from a diet heavy in animal foods to a plant-centric diet. With the global rise in income levels and urbanization, diets around the world are projected to include more empty calories, dairy, meat, poultry, and eggs, and fewer fruits, vegetables, and plant proteins.

Research Roundup: April 2015

Recent findings suggest chocolate may play a role in insulin resistance. In a study that included 18,235 men over the age of 66 years, researchers compared men who ate no chocolate to those who ate 1-3 (1-ounce) servings per month, 1 serving per week, and at least 2 servings per week. Risk of developing type 2 diabetes reduced by 7, 14, and 17 percent, respectively. The individuals with the greatest protection were those with a BMI under 25 and who consumed 1-2 servings of chocolate per week.