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Articles in Category: Food

An Apple a Day Keeps Diabetes at Bay

An Apple a Day Keeps Diabetes at Bay
Published Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Need another reason to eat some fruit every day? A new study from British and Chinese researchers shows a definite correlation between eating fresh fruit and a lower risk of developing diabetes. Many diabetics tend to avoid consuming fruit, opting for vegetables instead because of some fruits’ high sugar content. However, the results of this study share a different story.

  • Published on April 11th of this year, the study followed a half million Chinese adults between the ages of 30 and 79 for seven years.
  • About 19% of the participants reported consuming fresh fruit daily.  Participants who had been previously diagnosed with diabetes were three times as likely to report never or rarely eating fruit.
  • At the end of the study, researchers found that those participants without diabetes at the start had a 12% lower risk of developing diabetes when compared with those who ate no fruit. Across the study, more frequent consumption of fruit was associated with a lower risk.
  • For participants who were already diabetic when the study started, those who consumed fruit at least three times a week had a 17% lower risk of fatality and a 13%-28% lower risk of developing of complications associated with diabetes such as heart and kidney disease.
  • This study was purely observational, so there is no clear reason why this correlation exists and results may have been affected by other factors such as the participants’ dietary and behavioral habits. Further research is needed.

The lead author of this study and a research fellow at the University of Oxford, Dr. Huaidong Du said, “The sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in manufactured foods and may be metabolized differently. And there are other nutrients in fruit that may benefit in other ways.”  So despite some fruits’ high sugar content, this study shows that a daily dose of sweet, fresh fruit could actually prove beneficial for those already diagnosed with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association website recommends fruit as a healthy dessert option for those with diabetes, and Diabetes.co.uk offers a handy guide for choosing fruits with low carbohydrate/sugar content. With its high fiber content and nutrients, fresh fruit is always a good choice!

You can read more about the study in PLoS Medicine

The Dirty Dozen Updated for 2017

(The list, not the movie.)

The Dirty Dozen Updated for 2017
Published Tuesday, 11 April 2017

In early March, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its annual Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. Using data from US Department of Agriculture tests, the EWG ranks conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables based on how many pesticides remain on the produce after it is prepared for consumption. Often the synthetic chemicals found in pesticides can stay on produce even after it is washed or peeled, and even low levels of pesticide exposure can be detrimental to young children’s development.

  • Strawberries remained in the number one spot in the Dirty Dozen this year due to the high out-of-season demand for them. Ninety-nine percent of the USDA samples in 2014 and 2015 had detectable residue of at least one pesticide.
  • Spinach moved from eighth to second place this year. Seventy-five percent of the samples were found to have residues of permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide which is banned in the EU.
  • Pears and potatoes joined the list this year in the sixth and twelfth spots, respectively.
  • Sweet corn moved to the top spot on the Clean Fifteen list, knocking avocados down to number two. The Clean Fifteen list tracks produce whose samples were found to have the least amount of pesticide residues, if any.
  • The EWG’s lists rank fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticides found on them, not the toxicity of the pesticides themselves. Therefore, while produce high on the Dirty Dozen list may have a lot of pesticide residue, that residue could possibly be less harmful than residue found on a fruit or vegetable from the Clean Fifteen list.

However, according to the EWG website, “Since researchers are constantly developing new insights into how pesticides act on living organisms, no one can say that concentrations of pesticides assumed to be safe today are, in fact, harmless.”

While the EWG’s lists do help to limit your family’s intake of pesticides, this doesn’t mean that you should never buy strawberries again. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to maintain a balanced diet and to avoid consuming too much of one harmful chemical. Buy organic when it’s accessible and affordable for you. A shopper’s guide is available to help you buy foods with fewer types of pesticides when buying organic isn’t an option.

See the full Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists here.  

Better breakfast

Published Tuesday, 08 December 2015

Want to eat less at lunch? Choose oatmeal for breakfast. Recent study: Volunteers who ate a bowl of hot instant oatmeal with skim milk reported feeling fuller longer and ate significantly less at lunch than on the days that they ate a breakfast of cold oat-based cereal and skim milk. Explanation: Although both the oatmeal and cold cereal consumed in the study had the same number of calories, oatmeal has more fiber, which increases satiety.

Try this chili pepper health fix

Published Monday, 05 October 2015

Adults who ate spicy foods almost every day had a 14% reduced risk for death from any cause compared with those who ate these foods less than once a week, according to a recent seven-year study of nearly 500,000 people. Most reported eating fresh and/or dried chili peppers, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce risk for some cancers, high blood pressure and heart disease. Other research has found garlic and ginger to also be healthful spices.

Foods that help you sleep

Published Friday, 17 July 2015

Try having one of these snacks one hour before bedtime. Kiwis are rich in serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Cheese and whole-wheat-crackers contain 80% carbohydrates and 20% protein, the best ratio for boosting serotonin. But skip aged cheeses, such as Parmesan—they have an amino acid that can raise levels of stimulating chemicals. Tart cherry juice contains high levels of the hormone melatonin, which may help you sleep longer and more soundly.

The new “brain food”

Published Tuesday, 07 July 2015

Want your brain to be as sharp as someone’s a decade younger? Eat more spinach and kale. A 10-year study of more than 950 older adults found that those who ate just one or two servings of leafy greens per day had the cognitive abilities of people 11 years younger. Why it works: The lutein and vitamin K in the greens protect cognitive function. Important: If you take the blood thinner warfarin, work with your doctor to modify your dosage if you increase your intake of leafy greens.

Overall Health: Pomegranate

Published Wednesday, 01 July 2015

According to a UCLA study, this popular juice packs in the most antioxidant power per fluid ounce (followed by the old favorite, Concord grape). Once in your body, those antioxidants go to work repairing cellular damage and preventing free radicals – oxygen-containing molecules that harm cells- from causing any further problems. In other words, you’ll look and feel healthier than ever.

Detoxing: Cucumber

Published Monday, 22 June 2015

It’s really refreshing after a workout and downright tasty when combined with ginger and apple. The minerals in cucumber are a nutritional bonus, too. But what this juice specializes in is stimulating your kidneys, helping them filter all of the excess oh-no-you-shouldn’t-haves out of your system the morning after a really fun night before. Cucumber juice can’t eliminate a hangover by itself, but it sure gives you a good start.

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