November 2016

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Subscribers Only - Once upon a time, most people cooked with some kind of mixed vegetable oil or corn oil, both high in polyunsaturated fats. In those days, research supported a switch from saturated animal fats to vegetable polyunsaturated fats. Later when the heart health benefits of monounsaturated fats were revealed, canola and olive oils—predominantly monounsaturated—became popular. Now we have algae cooking oil. This is not made from the algae floating on top of your swimming pool, but algae grown specifically as a food source. It goes through a process of fermentation after which the algae oil is extracted. Algae oil is higher in monounsaturated fatty acids than canola, soybean, and olive oils, and is also very low in saturated fat (implicated as a possible cause of heart disease).

Most Strokes are Preventable

The majority of strokes, the leading cause of death and disability, could be prevented by reducing or eliminating important risk factors, researchers found. Ten controllable risk factors are responsible for 90 percent of all strokes worldwide. The study, which involved 27,000 people from around the globe, estimated that eliminating high blood pressure (hypertension) could reduce risk by almost 48 percent, making it the most important modifiable risk factor.

Supplementing Brain Health

Smart lifestyle practices, including healthy eating, exercise, good sleep, and continual learning help keep your brain in top form. Certain supplements also may help bolster brain function. Although more research is needed, the following supplements may help. Consult your doctor prior to use.

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Longevity

Subscribers Only - A number of studies have linked the Mediterranean diet with lower concentrations of inflammatory markers and a reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And now a new systematic review, which included 17 studies that examined the impact of diet and telomere length (the latter is a recognized biomarker of aging) adds longevity to the list of benefits associated with this plant-based eating pattern.

Washing Produce and Pesticides; Algae Oil

Fruits and vegetables are important to a healthy diet. Yet, despite a chorus of advocacy by nutrition professionals to add more produce to the plate, Americans still fall short of recommendations. Confusion about pesticides may be partly to blame. Algae oil is higher in monounsaturated fatty acids than canola, soybean, and olive oils, and is also very low in saturated fat (implicated as a possible cause of heart disease). Algae oil has important cooking benefits, such as a much higher smoke point than most conventional plant cooking oils.

Try Nuts for a Healthy Weight

Subscribers Only - For years, nuts—dense in calories and fat—were considered off limits for people looking to shed a few pounds. However, in the last two decades research has uncovered numerous health benefits of tree nuts, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews, for heart health and brain protection. Now those benefits even extend to achieving a healthy weight, as research shows that consuming nuts can actually help people lose pounds and keep them off.

The Latest in Egg Substitutions

Subscribers Only - The egg has a long culinary history because of its usefulness in leavening, binding, structure, and texture. Eggs provide the stickiness that’s required for baked goods. The protein in the egg provides structure and the fat provides textural moistness. The science of baking involves creating an end product that will maintain structure and height, with softness and moisture. Replacing eggs, therefore, is a tactical science. Read on for the latest egg substitutions for those with allergies or dietary preferences.

Gut Check

Subscribers Only - Your gut is teeming with microscopic organisms that play a huge role in your health. “By cell number, we are more microbial than we are human,” says Justin L. Sonnenburg, PhD, a leading gut microbiota expert and associate professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Sonnenburg explains that we have 100 times more genes in our microbial genome (complete collection of genetic material in the microbiome) than in our human genome, saying, “We are a fancy culturing flask.”

Pizza Pizzazz

Subscribers Only - Traditional pizza toppings typically include high-sodium and -saturated fat cheese and meats, such as pepperoni and sausage. However, these days you have many more healthful options, such as whole grain crusts and nutrient-filled toppings like arugula and grilled chicken. And if you live dairy- or gluten-free, you can now enjoy store-bought pizza as well. But use caution with so-called “healthier” options, which can still provide excessive amounts of sodium and saturated fat.

Healthy Heart Prescription: The Portfolio Eating Plan

Subscribers Only - There is no shortage of recommendations for foods you should eat to keep your heart healthy: Olive oil, almonds, oat bran, green tea, tofu, and kombucha are top of the list. But one particular dietary approach has held up to scrutiny over years of research: the Portfolio Eating Plan. Developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, the diet is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, similar to the diet recommended by the National Institutes of Health, but higher in viscous fiber, soy protein, plant sterols (compounds found in plant foods), and nuts.

Foods that Help Diabetes

Subscribers Only - When you have type 2 diabetes, what you eat matters. Too much carbohydrate can make your blood sugar spike, and too little can provoke a potentially coma-inducing drop. But might there be individual foods you can add to your diet that could help control those spikes and dips? EN separates the science from the hype about specific foods that may help control blood sugar.

A Lot of Bang in Buckwheat

Subscribers Only - The name buckwheat may not sound very exotic, yet it’s the primary ingredient of many traditional dishes around the world—Russian blinis, French crepes (galettes), and Japanese soba noodles, to name a few. Americans adore their buckwheat pancakes too. This fruit seed has been feeding the world for 8,000 years, beginning in Northern Europe and Asia, and introduced to America in the 17th century. Along with culinary enjoyment, buckwheat also happens to “buck up” a nutritious diet, with a healthy boost of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Research Roundup: November 2016

Subscribers Only - Increasing fruit and vegetable intake may make people happier, according to Australian researchers. Eating higher amounts of unsaturated fats is associated with lower mortality, while higher consumption of saturated and trans fats is linked with higher mortality when compared with the same number of calories from carbohydrates, according to Harvard researchers. Eating omega-3s from both seafood and plant sources may reduce heart attack death risk, research shows.