Articles

Eat Fruits and Vegetables for Better Vision

According to a study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, carotenoids, found in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, have been found to increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye diseases.

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Posted on 2009/12/19


Common Misconceptions About Cholesterol

Cholesterol can be both good and bad, so it’s important to learn the facts about what cholesterol is, how it affects your health and how to manage your blood cholesterol levels. Here are some common misconceptions, along with the true story, about cholesterol.

  1. My choices about diet and physical activity are responsible for my cholesterol level.
  2. Using margarine instead of butter will help lower my cholesterol.
  3. Thin people don’t have to worry about high cholesterol.
  4. My doctor hasn’t said anything about my cholesterol, so I don’t have to worry.
  5. Since the nutrition label on my favorite food says there’s no cholesterol, I can be sure that it’s a “heart-healthy” choice.

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Posted on 2009/12/05


Eating Right for Healthy Gut

Healthy eating, not supplements, is the best way to keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy, says a dietitian and researcher at Medical College of Georgia.

As with vitamins, it’s best to get the bacteria you need from healthy food rather than taking often expensive and potentially ineffective supplements.

Increasing awareness of the benefit some of these organisms play in sickness and in health has resulted in an explosion of prebiotic and probiotic additives and products marketed directly to consumers. It’s also created confusion – even among nutrition and other health care experts – about how best to use them.

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Posted on 10/23/09


Soy Reduces Hip Fracture Risk in Older Women

Postmenopausal women may lessen their chances of fracturing a hip by adding soy-based foods to their diet, a study from Singapore hints.

Women in the study were 21 to 36 percent less likely to fracture a hip when they reported eating a moderate amount of soy, Dr. Woon-Puay Koh, at the National University of Singapore, and colleagues found.

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Posted 10/20/09


The 10 Riskiest Foods

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in US released a new report listing the top 10 riskiest foods regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Together, these ten foods alone account for nearly 40 percent of all foodborne outbreaks that have been definitely linked to FDA-regulated foods between 1990 and 2006.

They are:

  1. LEAFY GREENS: 363 outbreaks involving 13,568 reported cases of illness
  2. EGGS: 352 outbreaks involving 11,163 reported cases of illness
  3. TUNA: 268 outbreaks involving 2341 reported cases of illness
  4. OYSTERS: 132 outbreaks involving 3409 reported cases of illness
  5. POTATOES: 108 outbreaks involving 3659 reported cases of illness
  6. CHEESE: 83 outbreaks involving 2761 reported cases of illness
  7. ICE CREAM: 74 outbreaks involving 2594 reported cases of illness
  8. TOMATOES: 31 outbreaks involving 3292 reported cases of illness
  9. SPROUTS: 31 outbreaks involving 2022 reported cases of illness
  10. BERRIES: 25 outbreaks involving 3397 reported cases of illness

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Posted 2009/10/07


Top Ten Dessert Trends on the Menu

The Food Channel® presents its Top Ten Dessert Trends for 2009. The list is based on research conducted by The Food Channel and the International Food Futurists™. Here’s what they see:

  1. Ice Cream as the Star.
  2. Sippable Desserts.
  3. Sharing Comes into the Open.
  4. Out of the Ordinary Presentation.
  5. Interactivity.
  6. Nostalgia.
  7. Portability.
  8. Novelties.
  9. International and unusual flavors.
  10. Seasonal and local.

For details, go to full article.

Posted on 2009/09/28


Low vitamin D raises blood pressure in women: study

Younger white women with vitamin D deficiencies are about three times more likely to have high blood pressure in middle age than those with normal vitamin levels, according to a study released on Thursday.

The study, presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, adds younger women to a growing list of people including men who may develop high blood pressure at least in part because of low vitamin D.

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Posted on 9/26/09


Seniors Benefit From Strength Training

An updated Cochrane review finds that progressive resistance
muscle training improves strength in older adults who exercised two to three
times a week. The exercises enhance their ability to do daily tasks such as
walking, climbing steps or getting out of a chair. Other studies have shown
that activity is important to continued good health as a person ages.

Strength Training exercise has people working against
resistance that increases as the muscle gets stronger, usually using exercise
machines, free weights or elastic bands. It fills a need in the older
population.

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Eggs Protect against Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Cataracts

Lutein, a carotenoid thought to help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, may be found in even higher amounts in eggs than in green vegetables such as spinach, which have been considered its major dietary sources, as well as in supplements. Research presented at the annual American Dietetic Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in 2003, by Elizabeth Johnson from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University also showed that natural lutein esters found in eggs are as or even more bioavailable as the forms of the nutrient offered in purified lutein products. Johnson’s trial tested serum lutein concentration in 10 healthy men, before and after daily consumption of 6mg lutein obtained from four different sources: eggs from chickens fed marigold petals (which are high in lutein), spinach (one of the best known sources of dietary lutein), lutein ester supplements (purified lutein) and lutein supplements. Differences in serum lutein levels in response to the various types of doses were observed the day after the first dose: the serum lutein response to egg was significantly greater than the supplements but no higher than the response to the spinach. After nine days of daily lutein dosing, the serum lutein response was significantly greater in the egg phase than either of the supplements or the spinach. The bottom line: this study suggests that eating lutein-rich foods may be a more effective means of boosting lutein concentration in the eye than taking supplements.

Another human study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, confirms that lutein is best absorbed from egg yolk-not lutein supplements or even spinach. Egg yolks, although they contain significantly less lutein than spinach, are a much more bioavailable source whose consumption increases lutein concentrations in the blood many-fold higher than spinach.

Although the mechanism by which egg yolk increases lutein bioavailability is not yet known, it is likely due to the fats (cholesterol and choline) found in egg yolk. Lutein, like other carotenoids, is fat-soluble, so cannot be absorbed unless fat is also present. (If this is the case, then to enhance the lutein absorption from spinach and other vegetables rich in this nutrient, we suggest enjoying them with some fat such as extra virgin olive oil). To maximally boost your lutein absorption, you could also combine both eggs and spinach. Whether you prefer your spinach steamed, sautéed or fresh in spinach salad, dress it with a little olive oil and a topping of chopped hard-boiled egg. For a flavorful, quick and easy recipe featuring eggs and spinach, try our Poached Eggs over Spinach and Mushrooms.


Eggs Protect Eyesight without Increasing Cholesterol

Two new studies published in the Journal of Nutrition add further evidence to the theory that a daily egg-whose yolk is a rich source of vision-protective carotenoids, including not only lutein but also zeaxanthin-may reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The studies, both conducted at the University of Massachusetts, show that, in addition to keeping hunger at bay longer (eggs’ satiety index is 50% than that of most breakfast cereals), an egg a day boosts blood levels of both lutein and zeaxanthin, thus reducing the risk of AMD-without increasing cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

In AMD, the macula, the central part of the retina which controls fine vision, deteriorates, greatly limiting eyesight or even resulting in blindness in those afflicted. The leading cause of blindness in people over age 50, AMD afflicts more than 10 million people in the United States, plus an additional 15 to 20 million worldwide.

In the first study, a randomized cross-over trial, Elizabeth Goodrow and her team investigated the effects of eating one egg a day on blood levels of lutein, zeaxanthin, cholesterol and triglycerides in 33 men and women over age 60.

After a no-egg start up week, volunteers ate either an egg or egg substitute daily for 5 weeks, then again ate no eggs for a week before crossing over to the other intervention for a second 5 weeks.

After the 5-week period in which they ate a daily egg, participants’ blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin significantly increased by 26 and 38%, respectively, compared to their levels of these carotenoids after their no-egg week.

And although eggs are well-known for containing cholesterol, participants’ blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides were not affected by eating an egg a day.

In the second study, researchers led by Adam Wenzel looked at the effect of a 12-week egg intervention on lutein and zeaxanthin levels in both the blood and the retina of the eye (the macular pigment optical density or MOPD) of 24 women ranging in age from 24 to 59.

The women were randomly assigned to eat 6 eggs every week containing either 331 micrograms (Egg1) or 964 micrograms (Egg2) of lutein and zeaxanthin per yolk, or a placebo (a sugar-filled pill).

No changes in cholesterol levels were seen in the women eating eggs, but in those given the placebo (the sugar pill), increases in total cholesterol and triglycerides were recorded.

Unlike the first study, only blood levels of zeaxanthin, but not lutein, increased in both Egg1 and Egg2 groups; however, carotenoid levels in the retina (MPOD) increased in both egg intervention groups, a result that suggests a daily egg offers protection against AMD.

Although egg yolk contains less lutein and zeaxanthin than some other foods-spinach, for example-when supplied by eggs, these carotenoids appear to be especially well absorbed into the retina. “Increasing egg consumption to 6 eggs per week may be an effective method to increase MPOD” wrote lead study author Wenzel.

So, enjoy a quick and easy, vision-sustaining poached or soft boiled egg for breakfast. Take an egg salad sandwich to work or add a hard boiled egg to your luncheon salad. On the weekend, treat yourself to our Healthy Breakfast Frittata or Egg Crepes filled with veggies, one of the delicious egg recipes featured in The World’s Healthiest Foods Essential Guide. We suggest choosing organic omega-3-rich eggs if available. Produced by hens fed a diet rich in flaxseed, these eggs are an exceptional source not only of lutein and xeaxanthin, but anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids as well.