Archive For The “Health” Category

Take Care by Stocking Up on Immune-Boosting Fruits and Vegetables

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Grower-Shipper Association of Central California

This pandemic is a learning experience for all of us on how to stay healthy and avoid illness.

Making informed decisions around COVID-19 is critically important. Taking the responsible route of practicing good hygiene and limiting social contact are sound practices we all must take seriously. 

What will help our body’s vital line of defense to an invading virus? A good diet, with lots of dark green, leafy vegetables and berries. When going to the grocery store or shopping online don’t forget to prioritize healthy foods that maintain a strong immune system and gut health.  But don’t just take our word for it. Listen to the advice from the experts, such as Elizabeth Bradley, MD, a clinical nutritionist and the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, who in a recent article, Facts (and Myths) About Boosting Your Immune System, highlights how diet plays a role in supporting the immune system.

Fresh fruits and veggies are going to support your immune system and gut health through this challenging time. So, for your next delivered grocery store order or on your next trip to your neighborhood market, remember to stock up on fresh produce to keep your immune system strong and healthy.

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Consuming Fruits and Vegetables and the Corona Virus

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Modern supermarkets with their many open displays of fruits and vegetables are truly a marvel and a reminder that our nation enjoys the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. However, in the face of the current nationwide COVID-19 outbreak, many questions about the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables have arisen.

According to Amanda Deering, an Extension specialist in Purdue’s Department of Food Science, current research indicates that the virus is not foodborne or food-transmitted. 

“From all indications, the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be transmitted just like other viruses,” Deering said. “This is very positive in that the same practices that we normally use to reduce contamination risk, such as washing your hands and washing fruit and vegetables before eating, should be applicable to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.”

Scott Monroe, Purdue Extension food safety educator, points out that many produce growers already incorporate good agricultural practice that reduce the risk of contamination by a human pathogen. 

“While viruses may be transmitted from surfaces, most growers take steps to prevent contamination. At this point in time, fear of COVID-19 should not be a reason to stop purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said.

 Although the risk is small that any individual would contract COVID-19 from selecting fresh produce, Deering and Monroe recommend the following steps to further reduce the risk:

  • Frequent hand-washing effectively reduces risk. After a trip to the supermarket, make sure to wash your hands, especially if tongs or other shared utensils are used.
  • Try not to manipulate produce items. While part of the buying experience is feeling, touching and manipulating the produce, this may increase the probability of a pathogen being deposited on or acquired from the produce.
  • Consumers who are immunocompromised should consider purchasing pre-packaged fruits and vegetables as an added measure of caution or choose to eat cooked fruits and vegetables at this time.
  • All produce items should be washed thoroughly before consumption.

The incorporation of fresh fruits and vegetables into one’s diet has consistently been shown to increase overall health, including the immune system. Staying healthy increases the body’s ability to fight infections. By taking a few common-sense precautions, such as frequent hand-washing and washing of produce, consumers can continue to reap the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables without incurring excessive risk of acquiring COVID-19.

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Power of 3 Campaign Touts California Walnuts Nutrition

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A new global marketing campaign by The California Walnut Commission of Folsom, CA creates The Power of 3, that has a simple message: three handfuls of walnuts a week can help improve nutrition.

The campaign focuses on walnut’s essential fatty acid, omega-3 ALA, and asks consumers to share the nut’s health message with three others through February, which is American Heart Month. It’s the first campaign of its scale for walnuts, according to a news release, with promotions in the U.S., Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

Consumers in each country will be directed to a global landing page on the commission’s website,

Digital and social media content, a sweepstakes, recipes and snack ideas, pop-up events, samplings and more will be used to spread the nutrition campaign, according to the release.

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Wonderful Pistachios Steps Up to Champion Plant-Based Protein

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By The Wonderful Company

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Wonderful® Pistachios, The Original Plant-Based ProteinTM, launched a new multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to further resonate with the growing number of people adding more plant-based protein to their diet. The campaign emphasizes that the best protein is grown on trees, not bred or developed in a lab.

Today’s savvy consumers have changed their perspective to reduce the amount of meat they consume, and it’s more than just a passing trend. A majority, 55%, say their change is permanent, according to HealthFocus data.

At the same time, Mintel data confirms 75 percent of people are adding more protein to their diet. To attract these protein-seeking shoppers, new retail display bins—hitting store floors early this year—will stand out at point of purchase, drawing attention to the plant-based origins of Wonderful Pistachios and offering a solution to those hungry for a plant-protein-powered snack.

“As more consumers make changes in their diet to eat less meat, but simultaneously crave more protein, Wonderful Pistachios represents the perfect snack because it’s a real, whole food containing six grams of plant-based protein per serving,” said Adam Cooper, senior vice president of marketing, The Wonderful Company. “When it comes to plant-based protein, you can’t beat the original, and our new campaign drives that message home.”

The new integrated campaign features print ads, social media, digital, public relations, emails, and Wonderful Pistachios retail bins featuring imagery of pistachio trees. The bins provide retailers a lift in sales and will propel the campaign throughout 2020.

The brand will promote plant-based messages at events throughout the year, Wonderful Pistachios influencers will continue to share plant-based protein benefits with their followers, and Wonderful Pistachios will host a live virtual symposium dedicated to sharing the latest trends on plant-based protein with retailer partners, supermarket dieticians, and other nutrition experts.

These efforts continue the momentum from the Plant-Based Nutrition Leadership Symposium, which was hosted by Wonderful Pistachios in April 2019, and drew an exclusive audience of nutrition experts for an immersion into plant-based nutrition science, culinary applications, and leadership dialogue, while celebrating pistachios in a plant-based context.

The entire campaign will ensure consumers know Wonderful Pistachios is among the highest protein snack nuts, and, unlike meat, protein-powered pistachios are naturally cholesterol free and offer fiber.

For more information about Wonderful Pistachios, please visit, Facebook at /WonderfulPistachios, and Instagram at @WonderfulPistachios.

About Wonderful Pistachios

Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds is the world’s largest vertically integrated pistachio and almond grower and processor. Grown in California’s Central Valley, our high-quality nuts can be found in the produce department of grocery stores across America.

Known for our iconic Get Crackin’® campaign, Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds is part of The Wonderful Company, a privately held $4.6 billion company.

The Wonderful Company

The Wonderful Company is a privately held $4.6 billion global company dedicated to harvesting health and happiness around the world. Its iconic brands include FIJI® Water, POM Wonderful®, Wonderful® Pistachios, Wonderful® Halos®, Wonderful® Seedless Lemons, Teleflora®, JUSTIN® Wines, JNSQ™ Wines and Landmark® Wines.

The Wonderful Company’s connection to consumers has health at its heart and giving back in its DNA. To learn more about The Wonderful Company, its products and its core values, visit, or follow us on FacebookTwitter and InstagramTo view the current Corporate Social Responsibility report, visit

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Celery Juice Health Benefits Cited in Part for Big Sales Increase

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A book published last May titled “Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide,” is being given at least partial credit for the vegetable leading fresh produce retail sales growth last year.

Strong celery demand in 2019 pushed prices above $60 f.o.b. a carton in April. This year. the celery shipping point prices (f.o.b.) have generally been under $10 per carton in California, still about 15 percent higher than at the same time a year earlier.

Retail sales growth numbers (conventional and organic) in 2019 reveal celery retail sales rose 25.6 percent in 2019, compared with 2018 sales, according to Category Partners of Idaho Falls, ID. Category Partners describes itself as “…a strategic insights company focusing exclusively on the fresh industries in the retail grocery channel. We understand the uniqueness of producing and selling fresh products, along with the unique data and consumer trends it generates.”

Year-over-year sales growth (for conventional and organic) for other commodities) were:

  • Broccoli: 8 percent;
  • Raspberries: 7.7 percent;
  • Blueberries: 7.7 percent;
  • Onions: 7.6 percent;
  • Avocados: 7.6 percent;
  • Lettuce: 7.3 percent;
  • Packaged salads: 5.6 percent;
  • Herbs and spices: 5.2 percent; and 
  • Watermelons: 4.3 percent.

“There were only seven categories that were above average in both volume and price, and celery was clearly number one,” the company reported.

Celery volume sold was increased 9 percent in 2019, which means demand was thriving. Conventional celery was up 8.4 percent in sales and organic celery was 12 percent higher for the year. Organic celery accounts for about 9 percent of the total celery category, compared to 5 percent for the organic share of the entire produce department.

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Study: Colorful Fruits, Veggies May Protect Against Alzheimer’s

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Diets by senior adults heavy into flavonols (colorful) – antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables and tea – may be less prone to develop Alzheimer’s, according to a new study.
Found in, said the study was conducted among 921 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project .

Researchers found among 921 MAP participants who initially had no dementia in the analyzed sample, 220 developed Alzheimer dementia. The study found individuals with the highest intake of  flavonols had higher levels of education and more participation in physical and cognitive activities. 

Bottom line, dietary intakes of flavonols (colorful fruits and vegetables) were inversely associated with incident Alzheimer dementia in models adjusted for age, sex, education. 

“The top food item contributors to the individual flavonols in our cohort were kale, beans, tea, spinach, and broccoli for kaempferol; tomatoes, kale, apples, and tea for quercetin; tea, wine, kale, oranges, and tomatoes for myricetin; and pears, olive oil, wine, and tomato sauce for isorhamnetin.

“In this community-based prospective study of older persons, we found evidence that higher flavonol intake through food sources, and kaempferol and isorhamnetin in particular, may be protective against the development of Alzheimer dementia. The associations were independent of many diet and lifestyle factors and cardiovascularrelated conditions,” the study read.

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FDA is Phasing Out Vitamins A and C in Favor of Potassium and Vitamin D

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Vitamins A and C are being phased out on nutrition labels by the Food and Drug Administration in favor of vitamin D and potassium. At the same time Monterey Mushrooms is reminding consumers mushrooms are a source of vitamin D.

The FDA label information changes took place January 1st, according to a news release from Monterey Mushrooms of Watsonville, CA., which grows and ships vitamin D enriched mushroomss.

The mushrooms, labeled “high in vitamin D,” are exposed to ultraviolet light, giving them more than 50 percent of the daily recommended value by the FDA, according to the release. Monterey’s high in vitamin D line include all sliced white and baby bella mushrooms in 8-ounce and 16-ounce packages, and 8-ounce portabellas.

““Exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet light is an extra step during the packaging process and it distinguishes us from other growers,” Lindsey Occhipinti, marketing manager, said in the release. “We see it as added value for shoppers, and we hope they will visit our website for recipes that show how easy it is to incorporate vitamin D into their favorite meals.”

Mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable that naturally contain vitamin D.  Before exposing them to ultraviolet light, mushrooms have less than 2% of the recommended daily value of vitamin D, according to the release.

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Apples are being Tied with Health for National Heart Month

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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Apples can help keep your heart healthy, along with a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. The Michigan Apple Committee works with expert Shari Steinbach, M.S., R.D. to communicate the health benefits of regular apple consumption.

February is American Heart Month, so now is a great time to tout the importance of consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Apples are naturally fat-free and provide an excellent source of fiber – both soluble and insoluble types. In a 2012 study conducted by Ohio State University, the daily consumption of apples was associated with reduced level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol. Their research showed that middle-aged adults who consumed one apple a day for four weeks lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol by 40 percent. Other studies found that eating apples daily appeared to lower levels of cholesterol and two other indicators associated with plaques and inflammation in artery walls. Additional health studies and information can be found at

“Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut and encourages the body to use, rather than store this waxy substance. In addition, apple peels are packed with polyphenols. These antioxidants can prevent cellular damage from harmful molecules called free radicals,” said Steinbach. “As far as how much to eat, just follow the apple-a-day saying, and if you eat two-a-day it might be even better!”

In 2018, Steinbach helped the Michigan Apple Committee create a kit as a resource for retail dietitians to help them communicate the many dietary benefits of Michigan Apples. Steinbach tapped in to her extensive experience as a former retail dietitian for Meijer and Spartan Stores to compile resources she knew Retailer RDs would need and use. Everything from recipes, meal plans, social media posts and scripts for media outreach are included in the kit. New sections will be added to the kit in 2020. To request a hard copy or electronic copy, email

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit

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California Nut Shipments Should be Plentiful this Season

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California grows and ships nearly 100 percent of the three major U.S. tree nut crops — almonds, walnuts and pistachios.

Golden State growers and shippers are reporting volume may be down on some varieties, but quality of all three is excellent. And despite fewer shipments predicted this season, there should be adequate supplies.

Mariani Nut Co. of Winters, CA sees the popularity of nuts continue to grow as consumers seek healthier snacks choices> Additional nuts are cited as being tasty and convenient. Good heart health is often linked to both almonds and walnuts.

The Almond Board of California in Modesto reports this year’s almond crop already has set a record as the state’s 7,600 almond growers will produce up to 2.5 billion pounds of almonds on 1.2 million bearing acres. This represents a light increase from last year’s production.

Almonds easily lead California’s nut shipments. Over 80 percent of the world’s almonds are grown in California, with about 70 percent of the state’s production being exported.

The almond association attributes the popularity of almonds to health/lifestyle, the growing worldwide middle class and the fact that almonds are a very stable nut with good shelf life and versatility.

The USDA reports walnuts rank second in total nut shipments. However, walnut shipments are predicted to drop around 7 percent this season from last year’s 596.7 million pounds. Sill, adequate supplies are seen.

Walnut consumption continues to increase due to desirable health benefits and the growing trend toward plant-based eating. Some observes predict consumers will likely see walnuts included on more restaurant menus and store shelves in the form of walnut ‘milks,’ plant-based meat alternatives, flours, snack items and more.

It is estimated California supplies two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade.

Nichols Farms of Hanford, CA reports pistachios are the third-ranked tree nut with 487.5 million pounds during the 2018-19 season. Even though a 20 percent drop in volume is seen this season, not shortage is predicted.

The company cites pistachios as being attractive to consumers due to the higher protein, plant-based snacks, and the flavor.

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Some Cities are Requiring Dollar Stores to Carry Fresh Produce

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Small-box retailers such as dollar stores are being required by more and more communities with no grocery stores to carry some fresh foods.

In Oklahoma City, the Wall Street Journal reports the city council is considering a plan requiring new retailers in the area to designate at least 500 square feet of space to fresh food.

CNN Business published a story recently called “Dollar stores are everywhere. That’s a problem for poor Americans.”

The article notes rising numbers of dollar stores upset some politicans who believe the discount chains “stifle local competition and limit poor communities’ access to healthy food.

Dollar General and Dollar Tree combine for more than 30,000 stores throughout the U.S. and company officials believe there is room in the market for many thousands more. By way of contrast, Walmart has a paltry 4,700 stores, according to the article.

The USDA offers a visualization of food deserts online in a tool known as the Food Environment Atlas. The Wall Street Journal reports the USDA estimates that 39 million people, or 12.8 percent of the population live in food deserts, with few fresh food choices close by and access to transportation is limited.

As a way to counter the effect of food deserts, the USDA also is involves the Healthy Food Finacing Initiative, which distributes some grants to improve fresh food access in under-served communities.

Recent publicity about dollar stores adding fresh produce may be overstated. The Wall Street Journal notes that soon, 650 Dollar General locations will sell produce. However, this is still only just 4.1 percent of the company’s 16,000 stores.

States have been engaged with the issue as well but have tended toward the carrot more than the stick:

  • Nevada lawmakers last year supported legislation providing providing for tax credits for businesses investing in certain fresh food retailers based in underserved communities and similar areas;
  • A Mississippi bill was passed and signed by the governor last year known as the Small Business and Grocer Investment Act” aiming to provide  “dedicated source of financing for healthy food retailers operating in underserved communities in Mississippi, in both urban and rural areas, to increase access to affordable healthy food so as to improve diets and health; to promote the sale and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, in natural and/or frozen form, particularly those that are Mississippi grown and to support expanded economic opportunities in low-income and rural communities.”
  • New Jersey  has a similar bill encouraging more fresh produce consumption. A summary of the legislation titled The Healthy Small Food Retailer Acts seeks to provide support to small food retailers operating in the Garden State, in both urban and rural areas, to sell more fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods at affordable prices to neighborhood residents in an effort to improve the health and wellness of all New Jerseyans.

Finally, CNN Business had an opinion piece by Darya Minovi called “Dollar General isn’t doing enough to bring healthy food to low-income Americans.”

 Minovi, a policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest focusing on healthy retail policies, sums up her piece in this way:

“To make a meaningful difference for consumers, Dollar General will need to prioritize fresh produce and more nutritious options. If not, communities will continue to follow the example of places like Tulsa, OK; New Orleans; and Mesquite, TX, which have instituted policies to limit the rapid expansion of dollar stores, given their anticompetitive impacts. The success of America’s fastest-growing food retailer should not come at the expense of Americans’ health.”

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