Archive For The “Health” Category

Pears Rank High in Dietary Fiber

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“Pears are a healthy and nutritious selection for the whole family that can be enjoyed a bit longer, when stored properly,” says Jim Morris, marketing manager at Pear Bureau Northwest. “Simply move your ripe pears to the refrigerator to extend their life 3-5 more days. With food prices on the rise, choosing produce that keeps and that offers a nutritious bang for the buck is all the more important.”

Pears rank higher than almost any other fruit when it comes to dietary fiber, with 6 grams or 21% of the recommended daily value in just one pear. Fiber aids in gut health and supports bowel regularity. Fiber-rich diets can also help in the prevention of various conditions and diseases, such as heart disease and some types of cancer.

Further, pears contain other essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium. These compounds are vital for normal metabolism, tissue repair, proper immune function and protection from infectious diseases.

How to Store and Ripen Pears
Pears are among the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Rather, they reach maturity when stored at room temperature. This makes pears a perfect choice for decorative fruit bowls or weekend produce shopping that will last throughout the week. To determine when a pear is at its juiciest, USA Pears suggests to “check the neck.” If a pear yields when gentle pressure is applied with a thumb to its neck near the stem, then it’s ripe and ready to eat. Once ripe, pears can be stored in the refrigerator to slow aging and extend the fruit for a few more days.

To learn more about the health benefits of pears and explore recipes, visit

About USA Pears
The Pear Bureau Northwest, promoted under the brand USA Pears, was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote and develop markets for top-quality fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon. The organization represents nearly 900 grower families and 50 packers and shippers. Combined, Washington and Oregon are the nation’s largest pear producing region. They produce approximately 88% of all fresh pears grown in the United States, and more than 96% of all winter pears (non-Bartlett varieties such as Bosc and Anjou). They also account for 92% of America’s fresh pear exports.

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New Report: Potato Consumption is Not Associated with Cardiometabolic Health Outcomes

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Potatoes are a nutrient-rich vegetable and one of the top sources of potassium in Americans’ diets, yet they are often singled out as a food to limit.

This recommendation is often based on misperceptions that eating potatoes is linked to increased cardiometabolic disease risk, even though potatoes contribute to overall fruit and vegetable consumption. However, a newly published study in the Journal of Nutritional Science finds that advice may be unwarranted.

Researchers at Boston University examined the impact of potatoes as part of overall diet and lifestyle patterns on cardiometabolic disease risk. They found no change in cardiometabolic risk factors associated with intake of either fried or non-fried potatoes in adults from the long-running Framingham Offspring cohort.

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New Research Show Health Trends Will Bolster Demand for Fresh Produce

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It is difficult to beat the nutrition that fresh fruits and vegetables deliver in each bite, according to a recent analysis by market research company Numerator, which confirms a growing number of consumers, especially younger shoppers, agree.

This report forecasts in the next five years, U.S. shoppers will prioritize unprocessed, fresh produce consumption to support wellness goals. This back-to-basics health focus would mean increased demand for fresh produce, exceeding fresh fruit and vegetable category growth of the past five years.

Increasingly, shopper habits will reflect a focus on healthy eating choices grounded in food-as-medicine over vitamins and supplements. With millennials raising families, immigration bolstering U.S. population growth and Gen Z consumers gaining purchasing power, health trends focused on nutritious diet choices will accelerate in the next five years, according to Numerator.

In its “Population Preview: The Next Trends by the People Who Drive Them” report, Numerator delivers purchasing analysis and insights, predicting U.S. consumer behavior for the next five years, sourced from first-party, consumer behavior information and U.S. Census data.

“Although consumers find vitamins and supplements important, younger households have become more focused on what they consume [versus] how they supplement,” said the report. “As millennials age, we could see health be defined as fresh produce and alternative meats, and a rise in products meant to offset fatigue and deliver convenience.”

Additionally, Gen Z and Millennials spend a larger share of their grocery dollars (+8%) on produce than older generations and 69% of Gen Z shoppers claim they monitor food and beverage choices, said the report.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population grew by only 0.1% in 2021. Declining birth rates, coupled with an uptick in deaths, have resulted in the slowest population growth rate since the founding of the nation. As the U.S. population shifts older, U.S. Census modeling predicts foreign-born households are likely to drive population growth in the next five years.  

According to Numerator’s analysis, these first-generation immigrant households will prioritize scratch cooking and source a diverse range of flavors, revealing yet another opportunity to market fresh fruits and vegetables to an evolving U.S. demographic.

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New Study: “Remarkable” Impacts of Eating Grapes on Health and Lifespans

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Research finds that eating grapes regularly leads to unique gene expression patterns, reduces fatty liver, and extends the lifespan of mice consuming a high-fat western-style diet.

In comprehensive studies published recently in the journal Foods, it was reported that the long-term addition of grapes to the diet of mice leads to unique gene expression patterns, reduces fatty liver, and extends the lifespan of animals consuming a high-fat western style diet. The research team was led by Dr. John Pezzuto of Western New England University.

Pezzuto, who is an author of over 600 papers in the scientific literature, said he was especially amazed by these results. “We have all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’ which is obviously true since we all start out as a fetus and end up being an adult by eating food. But these studies add an entirely new dimension to that old saying. Not only is food converted to our body parts, but as shown by our work with dietary grapes, it actually changes our genetic expression. That is truly remarkable.”

What is the effect of this alteration of gene expression? As shown in this paper, fatty liver is prevented or delayed. Fatty liver is a condition that affects around 25% of the world’s population and can eventually lead to untoward effects, including liver cancer. The genes responsible for the development of fatty liver were altered in a beneficial way by consuming grapes. In ancillary work, not only is the expression of genes altered, but metabolism is also changed by dietary grapes. This study was recently published by a collaborative team led by Dr. Jeffrey Idle in the journal Food & Function.

Studies of grapes add an entirely new dimension to the saying ‘you are what you eat.’

In addition to genes related to fatty liver, the work found that the grape-supplemented diets increased levels of antioxidant genes. According to Pezzuto, “Many people think about taking dietary supplements that boast high antioxidant activity. In actual fact, though, you cannot consume enough of an antioxidant to make a big difference. But if you change the level of antioxidant gene expression, as we observed with grapes added to the diet, the result is a catalytic response that can make a real difference.”

Another remarkable effect demonstrated in this research was the ability of grapes to extend the lifespan of mice given a high-fat western pattern diet. The high-fat western pattern diet is known to be associated with adverse conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Adding grapes to the diet, which did not affect the rate of consumption or body weight, delayed natural death. Although translating years of lifespan from a mouse to a human is not an exact science, Pezzuto notes that his best estimate is the change observed in the study would correspond to an additional 4-5 years in the life of a human.

Precisely how all of this relates to humans remains to be seen, but it is clear that adding grapes to the diet changes gene expression in more than just the liver. In studies recently published in the journal Antioxidants by Pezzuto and his team of researchers, it was found that grape consumption alters gene expression in the brain. At the same time, grape consumption had positive effects on behavior and cognition that were impaired by a high-fat diet, suggesting that the alteration of gene expression was what produced this beneficial response. More studies are needed, but it is notable that a team led by Silverman at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) reported that the daily administration of grapes had a protective effect on brain metabolism. This new research indicates that this is due to alteration of gene expression.


“Consumption of Grapes Modulates Gene Expression, Reduces Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, and Extends Longevity in Female C57BL/6J Mice Provided with a High-Fat Western-Pattern Diet” by Asim Dave, Eun-Jung Park, Avinash Kumar, Falguni Parande, Diren Beyoğlu, Jeffrey R. Idle and John M. Pezzuto, 5 July 2022, Foods.
DOI: 10.3390/foods11131984

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New Study: Health and Life Extending Benefits Provided by Grapes

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Recent studies released by Dr. John Pezzuto and his team from Western New England University show “astonishing” effects of grape consumption and “remarkable” impacts on health and on lifespans.

Published in the journal Foods, one study showed that adding grapes to a high-fat diet, typically consumed in western countries, yielded reductions in fatty liver and extended lifespans. Noting that these studies add an entirely new dimension to the old saying ‘you are what you eat,’ Dr. Pezzuto, who has authored over 600 scientific studies, said that the work with grapes showed actual changes in genetic expression. “That is truly remarkable.”

Adding grapes to a high-fat diet also increased levels of antioxidant genes and delayed natural death. Acknowledging that it is not an exact science to translate years of lifespan from a mouse to a human, Dr. Pezzuto said that his best estimate is the change observed in the study would correspond to an additional 4-5 years in the life of a human.

Another study by Dr. Pezzuto and his team, published in the journal Antioxidants, reported that grape consumption altered gene expression in the brain and had positive effects on behavior and cognition that were impaired by a high-fat diet.

A third study, published by a team led by Dr. Jeffrey Idle in the journal Food & Nutrition, showed that in addition to changes in genetic expression, grapes also change metabolism.

The California Table Grape Commission provided the grapes used in the studies as well as partial support. 

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Study: Most People Think They Eat Healthier Than They Do

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According to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, people are usually wrong when ranking how well they eat, particularly when they think their diet is healthy.

USDA and University of Central Arkansas researchers looked at data from 9,757 American adults who were asked to complete a food survey and rate their diet on a scale from “poor” to “excellent.”

The researchers wanted to find out whether a single, simple question could be used as a screening tool for nutrition studies — to replace or complement the detailed dietary questionnaires commonly used in nutrition research, the American Society for Nutrition reports. Previous studies have found that self-rated health is a strong predictor of morbidity and mortality, but there is scant research on whether self-rated diet quality is predictive of the actual quality of one’s diet.

Researchers then evaluated participants’ eating habits and graded them (from A to F) based on the Healthy Eating Index which assigns points for eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. It also gives points for avoiding processed foods, refined grains and sugar and saturated fat.

Results showed that 85% of participants inaccurately rated their own diet, almost all of them by ranking it as healthier than it really was, the American Society for Nutrition reports.

Lead author of the study Jessica Thomson, a research epidemiologist with USDA, said most adults overrate the quality of their diet, sometimes to a substantial degree.

Meanwhile, 71% of participants ranked their diet as good, very good or excellent. However, only 12% of the participants’ diets ranked that highly in terms of “healthy eating.” The study showed 70% of the participants’ diets were given an F, but only 6% of people self-assessed their diet as such.

What’s Missing?

Researchers said the difference between the ideal healthy diet and what people were actually eating was typically a lack of whole grains, greens, legumes, seafood and plant-based protein, and too much sodium and saturated fat. 

But what they were getting right was the importance of protein.

Further research could shed light into what factors people consider when asked to assess their diet quality, Thomson said. 

“It’s difficult for us to say whether U.S. adults lack an accurate understanding of the components of a healthful versus unhealthful diet or whether adults perceive the healthfulness of their diet as they wish it to be—that is, higher in quality than it actually is,” Thomson said in a release. “Until we have a better understanding of what individuals consider when assessing the healthfulness of their diet, it will be difficult to determine what knowledge and skills are necessary to improve self-assessment or perception of one’s diet quality.”

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New Study: Freeze-Dried Strawberry Powder Can Lower Cholesterol

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A daily serving of freeze-dried strawberry powder, equivalent to one cup of fresh berries, lowered total cholesterol by almost 3% and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol by almost 5%, according to a new study.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study recently published by the Journal of the American Nutrition Association strengthens the body of research that has already demonstrated a cholesterol-lowering benefit for strawberry consumption, according to a news release. 

The study was conducted with 40 men and women, aged 35 to 60. The participants were overweight or obese and had elevated serum cholesterol but no additional illness or chronic disease, the release said.  During three periods of four weeks each — separated by a two-week washout period — participants received 40-grams of freeze-dried 100% strawberry powder (the high dose), 13-grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder (the low dose) or a control powder. Participants were instructed to consume the powder once per day and to maintain their usual diet and exercise routine.   

There was a significant main treatment effect for the primary outcome of serum LDL cholesterol and for total cholesterol. In post-hoc analyses, low-dose strawberry supplementation resulted in a 4.9% reduction in LDL cholesterol compared to the high-dose but not compared to the control, and a 2.4% reduction in total cholesterol compared to the high dose and 2.8% reduction compared to the control. No additional significant effects were noted. The authors were unable to explain the lack of a dose-response effect, the release said.

Clinical trials have previously linked strawberries — a source of many bioactive compounds, including fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols — to several markers for cardiovascular disease, the release said. In another study of obese and overweight adults, daily consumption of strawberries significantly reduced total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, small LDL particle concentrations, and decreased lipid peroxidation.

Strawberries have also been linked to decreases in markers for oxidative stress, inflammation and diastolic blood pressure, the release said.

The Pennsylvania State University led the study in cooperation with the University of Arizona, Tucson; Lafayette College; and Texas Tech University. The study was supported by the California Strawberry Commission, which also provided the strawberry powder.  

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Eat Healthy and Live Green

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The “Eat Healthy and Live Green” campaign launched recently by
The Peruvian Avocado Commission, aims to inspire consumers to embrace a healthier lifestyle that’s good for them and the planet.

The commission is promoting the myriad health benefits of avocados, believing it is important to driving demand.

McDaniel Fruit Company of Fallbrook, CA strongly supports the work of the Peruvian Avocado Commission’s marketing strategy focusing on the health benefits of avocados. It notes these efforts, in tandem with the Hass Avocado Board’s Avocado Nutrition Center research, help elevate the category for all avocado growers, packers and shippers and pave the path for continued growth in the category.

In addition to the trend in healthier eating, the Vancouver, B.C.-based Oppy of Vancouver, B.C. sees the versatility of avocados fueling demand.

The company sees awareness growing about the different ways to consume avocados, and this boost in demand will require supply from its current regions and beyond.

One big question is with rising food inflation, will consumers continue to purchase as many avocados?

Oppy admits it is hard to tell, admitting there’s absolutely a correlation between price and demand.

Since avocados are recommended as an item in the produce aisle with some of the most nutritional benefits, many view it as an important ingredient in their daily diet. This is why Oppy doesn’t see avocados being affected by inflation that much. So, while they may not be recession-proof, they are likely to be less price sensitive.

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Dole Produce Poll: Americans See Produce as Essential…But

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Despite overwhelming public acceptance of fruits and vegetables as essential to the health of their families, kids and the future of the planet, close to half of all Americans largely ignore the benefits of eating produce.

These are among the highlights of a March 2022 survey conducted by Dole Food Company, Inc., to examine public opinions about the preparation, consumption, motivations and nutrition and environmental benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. Released today on National Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Day, an annual holiday created in 2015 to raise awareness and encourage more Americans to adopt a produce-rich diet, the survey results offer a glimpse into the public’s often-contradictory views on healthier eating.

According to the Dole Fresh Produce Survey, which polled 1,038 adults, almost three-fourths of respondents (73%) agree that fruits and vegetables are a healthy choice for their family, while 68% think they taste great, 63% say they are necessary for kids’ lunches and 60% believe they add flavor to any meal. Just over half of respondents (51%) also associate eating more fruits and vegetables with positively impacting the environment.

Almost the same percentage of survey-takers (45%) consider health and nutrition to be the most important factor determining their eating habits, and more than a third (37%) say they consume produce as part of a larger strategy of adopting a plant-based diet or lifestyle.

Finally, on the subject of fruit and vegetable recipes and preparation, close to half believe they can prepare produce in little or no time (48%) and insist they have a meal or recipe in mind when buying from the produce department (46%).

Despite these mostly positive associations with fruits and vegetables, the survey found that almost half (48%) of participants think the general public is still ignorant about the health and environmental impacts of fresh produce, which ultimately limits consumption.

“This survey is more proof of the disconnect between Americans’ desire to eat healthier, including a produce-rich diet, and their ability to make that lifestyle a reality, given all of life’s demands,” said William Goldfield, Dole director of corporate communications. “At Dole, we realize that healthy living can be a challenge – which is why we’re committed to continually providing the highest quality fresh produce, fantastic plant-forward recipes, serving suggestions, education and wellness advice that can transform the desire for increased nutritional health into a daily routine for anyone, regardless of where they are on their personal health journey.”

Goldfield said that past Dole research has helped shape healthy-living campaigns such as this year’s “Healthier by Dole” monthly recipe series that provides healthier, easier and tastier menu alternatives for big and small holidays and eating occasions and new Dole products, including the industry-leading DOLE® Chopped Salad Kit, DOLE® Fresh Takes Ready-to-Eat and DOLE® Sheet Pan lines.

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More Uses for a Cucumber Than You Can Ever Imagine

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Health and Wellness by Jena Stephens

Cucumbers… I didn’t know this… and to think all these years I’ve only been making salads with the cucumbers…

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back theshine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

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