From the October 2017 Issue

Breakfast in a Bar

Sitting down to a well-rounded breakfast, with foods from most, if not all, food groups, is an ideal way to start the day. It’s the first opportunity to provide your body with nutrients and energy after the long night’s fast. However, the time to prepare and eat such a meal is sometimes a luxury we don’t have. So, an array of quick and easy breakfast bars have arisen in the supermarket aisle to help you fit the bill. But what should you look for to ensure your breakfast bar isn’t simply a glorified cookie?

Current Issue

Crack into a Pistachio Today

There’s no denying the call of the pistachio. That smooth, beige shell, with the crunchy green prize tucked within is irresistible. A favorite American snack, pistachios have been enjoyed since the seventh century BCE and are one of only two nuts (the other is almonds) mentioned in the Bible. Native to the Middle East, pistachios were considered an aphrodisiac by the Queen of Sheba, and Chinese legend says they bring good luck to those who hear the shells pop open while sitting beneath the “smiling pistachio” tree.

Skip Out on High-Sodium Foods

For almost half a century now, health organizations, health professionals, researchers and government agencies have recommended that we reduce our sodium intake to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure, which is a proven risk factor for heart disease and stroke. But the call for slashing sodium intake has not been taken to heart, so to speak. …

Say Cheese, Please!

Humans have been making cheese for about 8,000 years. Originally a way to preserve milk in the pre-refrigeration era, cheese is a delicious part of many traditional diets, including the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. But the healthfulness of cheese remains controversial, largely because of its saturated fat content. However, many studies suggest that the health effects of saturated fat depend on which food it’s found in.

The Best Diet for Weight Loss

Losing weight and getting healthier is a common goal among Americans; we spend $60 billion dollars a year on weight loss books, gym memberships, apps, programs and special diet foods. Yet, collectively we are getting heavier, which leads to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The answer to weight loss is multifaceted, but a good starting point is understanding calories.

Cranberries for UTIs

It is estimated that one in every two women experiences a urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once in her life. UTIs are more common for women because of their anatomy, but the risks increase for men over 50, particularly those with enlarged prostates. Most UTIs are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), typically found in the digestive tract. The use of cranberries for UTI prevention and treatment has been around for decades, but is there any truth to the claims?

In Search of Whole Foods

From Mediterranean to Paleo to “Whole30” diet plans, there seems to be a common request among many of today’s popular eating styles. And that is to eat more whole foods. It’s a popular buzz word in social media and diet books. But what exactly are “whole foods” and why are we being told that they should form the foundation of our diets?

One Drink a Day May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Imbibing just one alcoholic beverage a day increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, according to research. London researchers reviewed 119 studies worldwide that included over 12 million women and 260,000 plus cases of breast cancer. There is strong evidence that consuming alcoholic drinks increases risks of both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer. Alcohol is converted into toxic acetaldehyde, which builds up in the body, meaning more cancer-causing cell damage. The studies showed being physically active, especially vigorous physical activity, decreases risk.

Phytoestrogen Benefits in Balance

Confusion over phytoestrogens, natural components of plant foods, abounds, with myths about their role in increasing cancer risk, promoting infertility, and triggering growth of breast tissue in men. Yet eating foods rich in phytoestrogens, as part of a balanced diet, may provide benefits.

Exploring Grass-fed Dairy; Choline Supplements

Q: Are grass-fed dairy products a good choice? A; Dairy products labeled as “grassfed” market their products as coming from cows exclusively fed grass instead of the grain rations that conventionally-raised cows typically consume. But what does this term really mean? In 2016, the USDA withdrew support for grass-fed marketing claims, thus they no longer have an official definition of the term “grassfed.”

High-Carb Diets Are Not So Bad

Carbs are routinely painted as the “evil nutrient,” responsible for everything from weight gain to heart attacks. However, this top diet myth is not grounded in science. Rather than focusing on total carbohydrates, experts recommend focusing on quality of carbohydrates. While highly processed carbs, including added sugars and refined grains, may be linked with health risks, minimally processed carbohydrate food sources, including whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, are linked with health benefits. In fact, most indigenous, traditional diets are rich in minimally processed carbohydrate foods.

Millet, No ‘Run of the Mill’ Grain

What is millet? It may not be in most kitchens, but the popularity of this grain is gaining traction. First cultivated about 10,000 years ago in Asia and Africa, millet became a food staple around the world. The Bible refers to it in bread making, the Romans ate it as porridge, and it was the prevalent grain in China before rice. Many cuisines include millet, such as flatbreads in India (roti and bhakri), porridge in China and Russia, and even beer in parts of Africa. Packed with nutrients, this quick-cooking grain is forging its way onto the American plate.

Research Roundup

Gluten-free diets may result in low consumption of whole grains and their beneficial nutrients for people who don’t have celiac disease, so they should not be encouraged, researchers say. People with celiac can reduce risk of heart disease by avoiding gluten, but the study of more than 110,000 men and women between 1986 and 2010 with a 26-year follow-up found no association between gluten intake and risk of coronary heart disease. The study showed that participants avoiding gluten may also be avoiding whole grains, known to have heart-healthy benefits.

Download The Full September 2017 Issue PDF

Higher consumption of fresh fruit was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and reduced occurrence of complications in people with diabetes, according to University of Oxford researchers. Over seven years, of the nearly 500,000 Chinese participants, those who reported the highest consumption of fresh fruit had a 12 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes over five years compared to those who never or rarely consumed fresh fruit. In people with diabetes, higher fruit intake was linked to a lower risk of mortality, about a 17 percent reduced risk over five years, along with 13-28 percent lower risk of diabetes-related complications.

About EN

Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning, independent newsletter (no sponsors, no advertisers) that opens your eyes to what you put in your mouth. Are you floundering in the swamp of conflicting advice on low-carb diets, vitamin E, eating fish, genetically modified foods? EN offers authoritative, reliable, practical guidance on what works and what doesn't in balancing your diet to protect... More.

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