August 2014

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Research Roundup: August 2014

Subscribers Only Daily tomato intake may reduce CVD risk. Increasing intake of tomatoes—the primary dietary source of lycopene—to two servings a day, as recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate, is linked with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to researchers. Study participants added two half-cup servings of canned tomatoes, sauce or paste to their diets for six weeks, which increased their levels of lycopene. Higher lycopene levels were linked to a lower risk of CVD, when compared to people with the lowest levels of lycopene.

Turn Up the Heat with Chili Peppers

Subscribers Only The findings. Capsaicin, which is most prevalent in red peppers, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Cancer cells treated with capsaicin showed a significant reduction in growth and inducement of cell death compared to cells in an untreated control group, according to a study in a 2013 journal, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Capsaicin also shows potential as a topical treatment for arthritis, due to anti-inflammatory compounds. A study in the May 2014 journal, Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, used the ghost pepper, known as the world’s hottest pepper, in such a formulation with positive results, suggesting its potential in the development of anti-arthritic medicine.

Eat for Your Eyes

Subscribers Only When you think of vision-enhancing and -protective foods, carrots may be what come to mind. But many other foods likely have a greater impact on the eye diseases encountered among older adults, says Jeffrey Anshel, OD, president of the Ocular Nutrition Society and author of Smart Medicine for Your Eyes. Since the publication of the initial Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) in 2001, research into the role of nutrition in eye health has been growing, including the release of a second AREDS study in 2013. “Today we know that the five main eye diseases—cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, dry eyes, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy—all have a nutritional link,” Anshel says. Maintaining a healthy body weight and lifestyle contribute to eye health, along with the following nutrients and foods.

Nature’s Medicine Cabinet: Plant Foods Fight Oxidative Stress

Subscribers Only Oxidative stress occurs when levels of highly reactive molecules called free radicals exceed your body’s ability to manage them. Free radicals come from external sources, such as tobacco smoke and pollution, as well as internal sources, such as metabolism. In excess, they can damage cells, promote inflammation, and interfere with blood sugar control, blood vessel function and normal cell growth. However, plant foods can bolster your body’s defense to help counter oxidative stress and its damaging effects.

Lean Green Entrée Salads

Subscribers Only When you’re scanning a restaurant menu and see “salad,” you usually think “healthy eating.” A big bed of greens topped with colorful peppers, tomatoes, carrots—of course salads are healthy. But when you toss in cheese, creamy dressings, crunchy bits of bread, and bacon, that so-called healthy restaurant meal can easily become the calorie, fat, and sodium equivalent of a deluxe fast food burger.

Hydrate Well for Health

Subscribers Only Your body is comprised of roughly 60 percent water, which has many essential tasks, including cushioning your joints and organs, transporting essential nutrients, maintaining internal temperature and electrolyte balance, and eliminating waste. During the hot days of summer, water is even more important. Your body can withstand intense heat conditions, as well as vigorous activity, because water can effectively cool down your system through sweating. Given such an essential role, your daily beverage choices have a major impact on health.

The Pros and Cons of Fasting

Subscribers Only Intermittent fasting is an integral part of our history. Our early ancestors managed without three meals a day, and fasting has long been observed in many cultures and religions, including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Catholicism. Recently, fasting became a new diet trend, but the question remains: are there true health rewards for periodic breaks in eating?

Discover Asian Vegetables

Subscribers Only The popularity of Asian cuisine is changing the lineup in American kitchens. Ingredients like tofu, miso and curry that were once hard to find, have become staples in pantries and regulars on supermarket shelves. Asian vegetables—nutritious and delicious—however, remain largely untapped. Asian cucumbers, eggplants and radishes offer just enough twist to familiar domestic varieties, while the strangely misshapen taro root and galangal taste as novel and foreign as they look. Unlocking this world of vegetables promises to jazz up your cooking with flavor and health benefits.

Benefits of Grape Seed; Agave vs. Sugar

Subscribers Only Q. Is grape seed extract beneficial for my health? A. Grape seed extract—the ground-up seeds of grapes—are naturally high in proanthocyanidins, potent antioxidants that defend against free radical damage of cells and may help prevent chronic diseases. Preliminary studies have shown that grape seed extract shows promise in maintaining blood vessel health and healthy blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, as well as protection against diabetes-related eye disease and age-related cognitive decline, as well as…

Feed Your Amazing Gut Bacteria

Subscribers Only One of the hot topics at the Annual Nutrition and Health Conference held in Dallas in May 2014 was about something so small, yet so powerful: gut microbes. These micoorganisms form a population in your intestines called the gut microbiota.

Older Adults Need More Protein

Current dietary recommendations for protein intake are not optimal for older adults, according to a position paper written by an international team of experts in the April 2014 Clinical Nutrition. Current daily U.S. protein recommendations are 56 grams for men 19 years and older, and 46 grams for women 19 years and older, based on 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes.

Preserve Nutrients in the Kitchen

Food preparation techniques, such as peeling, chopping and cooking, make an impact on the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. Follow these tips to preserve nutrients in your kitchen.