September 2015

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Kohlrabi, the Subtle Cabbage

Subscribers Only - The folklore. Kholrabi, Brassica oleracea, is a humble cruciferous vegetable whose name means “cabbage turnip” in German. With a taste similar to a combination of cucumber and mild broccoli, kholrabi has a more subtle flavor than its cabbage family cousins, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. Its most distinguishing feature is an above-ground bulb, called a “globe.” Kohlrabi was first documented by a botanist in 16th century Europe before making its way to America in the late 1800s.

Give Sprouted Grains a Try

Subscribers Only - Science is finally catching up with the age-old practice of sprouting grains to find that it’s an even more nutritious way to eat whole grains, since it increases nutrient levels and nutrient availability to the body. Chefs and bakers are increasingly using sprouted grains in recipes, and food manufacturers are using sprouted grains in cereal, bread, snack chips, pasta, and other packaged foods. More and more consumers are sprouting grains at home, too. Helping to spur these trends is the fact that sprouted grains are typically a bit sweeter and more flavorful than their traditional whole grain counterparts. If you haven’t yet tried sprouted grains, it’s time to seek them out.

Research Roundup: September 2015

Sweet Drinks Boost Cardiovascular Risk. Beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) increased risk factors of cardiovascular disease, according to researchers from the University of California, Davis. Eighty-five participants 18-40 years of age were assigned to one of four groups who consumed beverages with varying doses of HFCS, ranging from 0-25 percent of their total daily calorie requirements. After 15 days, the researchers found that risk factors of heart disease (blood lipoproteins, triglycerides, and uric acid) increased along with the dose of HFCS.

High-Protein Diets May Pose Long-term Health Risks

Touted as a quick way to lose weight, high-protein diets may backfire, according to a five-year Spanish study of 7,000 adults over the age of 55. The study participants were free of heart disease at the start of the study, yet had either type 2 diabetes or three or more risk factors, such as high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, or obesity. When subjects replaced carbohydrates with protein, it was linked to a 90 percent greater risk of gaining more than 10 percent body weight and a 59 percent increased risk of death from any cause. Replacing protein with fat increased the risk of death to 66 percent. This study further supports that while high-protein diets may seem appealing for short-term weight loss, their long-term health risks may not be a good strategy for overall health. You’re better off focusing on a balanced diet with low-fat protein choices, such as fish and legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Eating to Ease Arthritis Pain

More than 50 million Americans—one in five adults—have arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, making it the Number One cause of disability in this country. The condition is marked by inflammation in one or more of your joints, resulting in joint pain and stiffness. The two most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in which the synovial membrane that protects and lubricates joints becomes inflamed, and osteoarthritis (OA), which involves the wearing away of cartilage that caps the bones in your joints. Aging and accompanying body changes may contribute to arthritis onset and progression. When the body’s inflammatory response is functioning normally, it protects and repairs tissue; when stress on the joints or an autoimmune response causes inflammation, it functions in an out-of-control manner that can harm more than it heals. Experts think diet may indeed help ease the pain of arthritis.

Appetizer Appeal

Subscribers Only - It’s always nice to start a dinner party with a pre-meal appetizer. But preparing those trays of bite-size starters can take time. Food companies have made the job easy by providing an array of frozen and refrigerated appetizers, such as chicken wings, mushroom bites, egg rolls, and more. Such store-bought appetizers can be a great time saver—just heat and serve. Plus, these appetizers can go beyond parties to make fun snacks. But how do these packaged starters rate nutritionally?

Golden Berry Health Potential; Pros and Cons of Brown Rice Syrup

Subscribers Only - The golden berry, also called pichuberry (named after Machu Picchu in Peru) and cape gooseberry, is a Peruvian “super” fruit that grows abundantly in the Andes region of South America. These little golden fruits, which look like small, marble-sized yellow tomatoes nestled in a parchment paper-looking husk, are part of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. When dried, they look like golden raisins and have a sweet and tart taste.

FDA Moves to Remove Trans Fat from Foods

Subscribers Only - The FDA recently announced they would take steps to remove artificial trans fat from the food supply—a move which is expected to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of heart attacks every year. In 2013, the FDA made the determination that partially hydrogenated oils—the major source of artificial trans fats—were no longer “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Now they are finalizing this action by determining they are not safe for use in any human food. The FDA is providing a three-year compliance period to allow the food industry to phase out the remaining applications of partially hydrogenated oils in foods.

Update: Arsenic in Foods

Subscribers Only - Large-scale concern over the levels of arsenic in food hit the mainstream in 2012, when Consumer Reports found that rice, apple juice, and other foods, including organically grown versions, contain considerable levels of arsenic. EN updates you with the latest evidence.

Ketosis Fad Diet Alert

The Ketogenic, Atkins, and South Beach diets. These diets are all examples of the trendy low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans that claim you’ll lose lots of weight in little time. If you are eating less than 20 grams of carbohydrate a day, you’re following a ketogenic diet. Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel, so if you aren’t eating enough, your body will create an alternative energy source called ketones. The goal of an extremely low-carb diet is to get your body into this state, called ketosis, which is thought to speed weight loss.

5 Reasons To Focus on Fiber

Subscribers Only - When you think of dietary fiber, you may think of foods, like bran, that help move things along in your intestinal tract. And you would be right, at least partially. However, dietary fiber does a lot more than just benefit your intestines. A fiber-rich diet may also confer lower risk of hypertension and diabetes. Unfortunately, we don’t get enough fiber—the average intake is only about 15 grams (g) per day, far below the recommended daily intake of 25 g for women and 38 g for men.

Diet: Your Strong Defense against Strokes

About 500,000 first-time strokes occur every year in the U.S. Since high blood pressure is the number one risk factor, it’s no surprise that managing high blood pressure through diet is a key focus. In October 2014 the American Stroke Association and the American Heart Association released newly revised guidelines for stroke prevention, recommending a Mediterranean or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet pattern while maintaining a healthy weight in order to control blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke.