Archive For The “Health” Category
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!!
Per-capita availability of U.S. fresh blueberries and raspberries at the retail level has more than doubled in the past decade, according to USDA data.
From 2010 to 2019, per-capita availability of blueberries at retail has grown from 1 pound to 2.1 pounds, a twofold-plus gain. During the same period, per-capita retail availability of raspberries has also more than doubled, from 0.3 pounds in 2010 to 0.80 pounds in 2019.
Strawberries still represent the most widely consumed fresh berry, with the USDA reporting 5.3 pounds retail per capita in 2019.
However, that number is down about 19% from 6.6 pounds in 2010, the USDA said.
Per-capita consumption of blueberries from 2010 to 2019, in pounds, was:
- 2010: 1.0;
- 2011: 1.2;
- 2012: 1.2;
- 2013: 1.3;
- 2014: 1.4;
- 2015: 1.5;
- 2016: 1.6;
- 2017: 1.6;
- 2018: 1.8; and
- 2019: 2.1.
Per-capita consumption of fresh raspberries from 2010 to 2019, in pounds, was:
- 2010: 0.2;
- 2011: 0.3;
- 2012: 0.3;
- 2013: 0.3;
- 2014: 0.7;
- 2015: 0.8;
- 2016: 0.7;
- 2017: 0.8;
- 2018: 0.7; and
- 2019: 0.8.
Per-capita consumption of strawberries from 2010 to 2019, in pounds, was:
- 2010: 6.6;
- 2011: 6.8;
- 2012: 7.4;
- 2013: 7.4;
- 2014: 7.3;
- 2015: 7.1;
- 2016: 6.8;
- 2017: 6.3;
- 2018: 5.9; and
- 2019: 5.3.
FOLSOM, Calif. – A new research study published in Nutrients finds that blueberries have cognitive benefits. More specifically, the equivalent of a half cup of fresh blueberries per day, consumed as freeze-dried blueberry powder, was found to help middle-aged individuals against cognitive decline when implemented early in at-risk individuals.1
This is an important finding given that in the United States, nearly six million older adults live with dementia. Since limited treatments for cognitive decline exist, preventative approaches and mitigation of risk through proper nutrition are of increasing importance. Given that neurodegenerative changes associated with cognitive decline start in midlife, this research indicates that blueberries may present an opportunity for early intervention, by targeting modifiable risks like poor nutrition and related metabolic disturbance.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, “Blueberry Supplementation in Midlife for Dementia Risk Reduction,” looked at the impact of blueberry supplementation to produce measurable cognitive benefits in the context of aging and insulin resistance. Participants were overweight men and women 50 to 65 years old with subjective cognitive decline and moderate insulin resistance. Over the course of 12 weeks, participants were randomly assigned to consume either freeze-dried blueberry powder or placebo powder daily. Participants were asked to consume the powder with either their morning or evening meal, mixing it with water. Pre-and post-intervention assessments of cognition and metabolism and exploratory measures of peripheral mitochondrial function were conducted.
The blueberry group experienced improved performances on measures of lexical access, such as letter fluency as measured by the Controlled Word Association task, improved performances on measures of memory interference, such as fewer recall intrusion errors as measured by the California Verbal Learning Test and reduced memory eroding difficulty in daily life activities, such as reduction of forgetfulness, as measured by the Everyday Memory Questionnaire. The blueberry group also experienced correction of peripheral hyperinsulinemia, which is associated with neurodegeneration in the brain, as well as a significant decline in fasting insulin levels.2
Based on these findings, the study authors suggest that the potential mechanisms for these findings may be associated with anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, the bioactive flavonoid compounds found in blueberries responsible for their vibrant blue color. Importantly, these results provide support that blueberries may induce metabolic and other benefits that could serve as an early intervention for preventing the cognitive decline associated with aging.
“This is the first study of its kind to look at blueberry supplementation in middle-aged individuals at risk for future health problems and late-life dementia,” said Robert Krikorian, PhD, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center and the study’s lead investigator. “Importantly, this research provides evidence that blueberry supplementation can improve cognitive function and correct high insulin levels in these participants with prediabetes.”
The study, which was supported by funding from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, builds on previous research in this area, which has demonstrated improvement in long-term memory performance with blueberry supplementation in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.3 It also supports previous research that found an association between blueberry consumption and improved metabolic function in at risk individuals, such as an improvement in insulin sensitivity.4
Further research is needed to look at blueberry supplementation over a longer time period, with a more robust sample size. Additionally, longitudinal cognitive assessments would be of value to assess the influence of blueberries on the progression of cognitive decline and to more thoroughly investigate the mechanisms of neurocognitive benefit.
“While further studies are warranted, our results provide novel and exciting data regarding the potential of blueberry supplementation as a preventive intervention,” said Krikorian.
With Brain Health Month on the horizon in June, tailored resources from USHBC are available now in the Brain Health toolkit, including ready-made social media content and digital ads, tip sheets, a research deep-dive (including this study), mouthwatering recipes, eye-popping blueberry images and more.
The USHBC had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the study. For more information on blueberry nutrition research visit blueberrycouncil.org/health-professionals/health-research/.
About the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is an agriculture promotion group, representing blueberry growers and packers in North and South America who market their blueberries in the United States and overseas, and works to promote the growth and well-being of the entire blueberry industry. The blueberry industry is committed to providing blueberries that are grown, harvested, packed and shipped in clean, safe environments. Learn more at blueberry.org.
As new research confirms that COVID-19 has made people more health-conscious, the potato is trending again with shoppers, scientists and the media. Recent stories in major media outlets such as Today and Parade remind consumers that potatoes are “loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, potassium and B6 and fiber” are “uber-healthy.”
Part of the renewed popularity of potatoes may be an increasing focus on health and fresh food. According to World Economic Forum, recent studies showed that 62% of Americans believe their health is more important than before the pandemic. Additionally, shoppers surveyed in a Post COVID trend study by Deloitte showed shoppers are planning to buy more fresh food and cook more than they did before the pandemic.
While potatoes (white potatoes in particular) are known for their high levels of Potassium and Vitamin C, fiber may be the most compelling reason to stock up on spuds. In addition to the traditional gastrointestinal benefits, fiber can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, reflux, and diverticulitis. Potatoes also contain prebiotic fiber, which is crucial for feeding and sustaining beneficial gut bacteria. All of this is good news for the potato, and the potato is good news for consumers.
While the ‘healthy gut’ discussion is not new, scientists have found that the gut microbiome has a critical role in overall health and wellbeing. Studies by the Unilever Future Health and Wellness team focused on the effects of plant-based diets on the gut microbiome, suggest it can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, sleep, healthy aging, growth and development, immunity.”
Considered mood-boosting comfort foods, ‘healthy carbohydrates’ such as potatoes can help restore serotonin levels and prevent blood sugar and insulin surges.
“It’s good to see potatoes getting the recognition they deserve,” said Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network. “Whether consumers are embracing a plant-based or whole food diet, or just looking for a healthier way of eating, the potato is a powerful, economical, nutrient-dense, and delicious food.”
YUMA, AZ – The collaborative efforts between Natural Delights and registered dietitians are consistent and ongoing to bring Medjool dates to the forefront of shoppers’ minds.
In the last year, Natural Delights has added 500,000 new consumers to the brand thanks to its extensive marketing efforts1. As part of these efforts, the brand has significantly expanded its registered dietitian program to reach people where they most actively seek information regarding their health.
“Growing the category has been a priority for the brand and our growers since day one, so partnering with experts and influencers in the health and wellness space is a strategic part of our ongoing marketing efforts,” said David Baxter, director of marketing for Natural Delights. “Whether they are sampling our products in-store or at their local hospitals, or sharing online and via television segments, we are extremely grateful that they use their trusted voices to help us grow the brand, and ultimately household penetration.”
This year, Natural Delights created several new downloadable resources on the most requested topics of gut health, pregnancy health, diabetic health, and more. Registered dietitians with expertise in each area authored these resources and produced corresponding video content to be shared on social media and the brand’s growing YouTube page.
Additionally, Natural Delights works closely with media and influencer dietitians to reach the masses with relevant content to help people make healthier choices throughout the year. Most recently, the brand partnered with Carissa Galloway and Amy Goodson to talk about National Nutrition Month and why Natural Delights products are the perfect healthy (and tasty) addition to snacks and meals.
“Natural Delights is a dream brand to work with as a registered dietitian because their product is so widely available and I trust the quality since I’ve been eating them for years,” said Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD. “Most people don’t realize that Medjool dates are a whole fresh fruit and that they boast of so many nutritional benefits. I love that Natural Delights partners with registered dietitians to help set the record straight about this naturally sweet, wholesome (and, might I add, delicious) fruit.”
For more information about Natural Delights, including to download the newest health & wellness resources, visit naturaldelights.com.
About Bard Valley Natural Delights®
Natural Delights® Medjool Dates, the leading Medjool date brand in the country, is a naturally sweet, whole fresh fruit grown in Bard Valley at the intersection of Arizona, California and Mexico where its very specific set of growing conditions are met.
When it comes to creating better eating habits, often the most challenging part is putting the actions needed to improve into practice. Mindful eating provides specific tactics that can easily be applied to help improve overall health and wellness. Mindful Eating may sound like just another dietary trend but in reality, it is a concept designed to help people make conscious decisions around how and when they are fueling their body.
Because of how important fruits and vegetables are as a source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, they should always be a priority to include in your daily meals and snacks. Many people are aware of this already, but it’s always great to be more intentional about putting plants first. When considering meals, not only should at least one portion of veggies be included, but that should be what you eat first on your plate. The consistency of vegetables and fruits allow for a quicker digestive process than meats and starches. Your digestive system will thank you if you start with the food that breaks down the fastest.
You will further benefit by making sure that the plant portion of your meal is a hefty size. By filling up your plate with what’s best for your body, you’ll eat less of what is not as healthy. Practicing this tip will help you feel lighter on your feet and more energized afterwards. In short, make your plant portions are the hero of your meals. Pure Flavor® offers flavourful, fresh, and nutrient-packed greenhouse grown produce so having the veggies you need will never be a problem, no matter the season. If you’re looking for some ideas of veggie heavy meals, try out Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Mediterranean Poutine and Winter Kale Chicken Salad. They are full of flavor and sure to please everyone around the table.
Traditionally, people have been taught to make sure to eat three square meals a day in order to fuel their bodies properly. Eating three times a day is okay but eating smaller meals 5-6 times a day is even better! This tip may come across counter-productive for healthy habits, because how could eating more food be better for your health, but it makes perfect sense.
Rather than three primary meals per day, decrease the portions of your traditional meals and add in small, healthy snacks between those meals. Doing this will keep your digestive system active all day long. Being active on the outside is not the only way to burn calories. Your body burns calories from the inside as well. So, the more your digestive system works, the more calories you burn, even during the times you’re being still. With all the calories you’ll be burning, your metabolism will also get a boost. Pure Flavor® proudly offers a full line of healthy and convenient snacking vegetables. With a selection of Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Peppers, there is something for everyone’s taste and packed for easy, on-the-go access.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Life is busy and sometimes meals are squeezed in between errands and activities. The tip of taking your time to eat will require you to be a bit more intentional, as many of us eat too fast. But you will find that taking your time to eat will benefit you in many ways.
The primary benefit is to your health. If you are eating a meal in five minutes or less, it is likely difficult to gauge if your food portion is what your body needs. It is easy to over-eat when eating fast. Eating slower allows you listen to your belly when it tells you it’s full. Eating slower is also good for your digestive system. The food you’ve eaten will travel through your system much smoother when it’s not passing through in a huge clump. Another added tactic to help you slowdown is to ensure you’re chewing your food well.
Taking advantage of these tips to slow down also have secondary benefits that naturally occur as a result. Think about it, if you are eating slower, won’t you be able to enjoy your food more? And if you are taking your time, you’ve created an opportunity to strengthen relationships with those you might be eating with. The pros outweigh the cons by far.
DRINK MORE WATER
Considering the human body is mostly made up of water, it should be clear that water consumption needs to be maintained for our bodies to function as intended. Most people will drink a few glasses of water in the day, but most people walking around are likely a bit dehydrated. The average person should consume a minimum of 2L of water every day to be properly hydrated.
Often, hunger is misinterpreted for thirst causing people to eat more when really, they’re just thirsty. If you’re starting to feel hunger coming on, try to drink a glass of water first before defaulting to eating. You might find a glass of water will satisfy you and keep you from consuming food your body didn’t need. Aside from preventing over-eating, you’ll also gain more energy, boost your metabolism, improve quality of sleep, and increase clarity of mind by staying properly hydrated.
Other than drinking water, there are foods we eat that can also contribute toward hydrating the body. Cucumbers are a great example as they consist of upwards of 95% water! Working cucumbers into your daily diet will boost hydration, along with providing many other nutrients your body needs. Make sure to check out some delicious cucumber meal recipes like Garlic Cucumber Salad, Salmon Sushi Bowl and Cucumber Pico Tostadas for your next meals.
When trying to live in a way that is mindful of our health, it is usually easier to maintain accountability with a friend or partner. Having someone to hold you accountable will help you think twice before making food choices, rather than be impulsive or fall into old habits. Plus, as with most things in life, it’s usually more enjoyable when you don’t have to go it alone. Being able to share recipes, progress reports, and future health goals with someone can help keep us on track.
It is also motivating to have someone to celebrate both small and large victories with. A sense of accomplishment can be a strong motivating factor to continue with healthy choices, and it only grows stronger with every achievement and benchmark reached.
It is important to stay mindful of how you are fuelling your body on a daily basis. By practicing these, and another Mindful Eating techniques, you may find yourself not only more aware of what you are eating and drinking, but also see how much better certain foods make you feel. By choosing always in season, greenhouse grown vegetables as part of your meal planning it is the first step in making lasting, healthy habit. Thank you Pure Flavor®
MONTREAL – Eating avocados can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Eating at least two servings of avocado a week reduces the risk of having a heart attack by 21% when compared to avoiding or rarely eating avocados.
‘‘It may come as a surprise to learn that fresh avocados are a heart-healthy fruit. After all, haven’t consumers heard that avocados are high in calories and fat? Popular belief is that low-fat diets are important for heart health, and that’s not entirely untrue. But low-fat is not the same as no-fat”, explained Miguel Barcenas, strategy and marketing consultant for the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico (APEAM).
When health experts talk about “good fats” and “bad fats” they aren’t judging your snack habits. Good fats, which are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, help nourish your body. In fact, Canada’s food guide explains the importance of limiting intakes of saturated fat to support healthy dietary patterns. One-third of a medium avocado offers 5 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat in every 50-gram serving.
The “bad fats” are trans and saturated fats, which can cause trouble for your heart if they dominate your diet. More than 75% of the fats in avocados are the “good” kind, plus they have zero cholesterol. But the benefits don’t stop there! Avocados are sugar-free and are a good source of fiber (3 grams per 50 gram-serving).
In addition to looking at the overall impact of eating avocados, researchers did statistical modeling and found consuming half a serving of avocado (¼ cup) a day instead of the same amount of eggs, yogurt, cheese, margarine, butter or processed meats (such as bacon) lowered the risk of heart attacks by 16% to 22%.
Best of all, it’s now easier than ever to add avocados into your diet. Avocados are extremely versatile and go fantastically with a number of traditional meals, the latest trends in cuisine, or even plain by themselves. Visit the “how-to” page to learn great tips like choosing a ripe avocado or preparing the avocado in different forms (sliced, diced, mashed…). It’s easier than you think: just cut it in half, twist, remove the pit, cut into long slices or dice into cubes, and you’re all set.
So what are you waiting for?
For more information on Avocados From Mexico, visit https://avocadosfrommexico.ca/ or follow Avocados From Mexico Canada on Facebook.
ABOUT AVOCADOS FROM MEXICO
Avocados From Mexico exemplifies the positivity and dynamism attributed to avocados. Throughout the growing, packing and distribution processes, the brand stays loyal to its goal of offering good food that will be happily enjoyed in good company. Mexicanity is the emotion and energy associated with making guacamole and other delicious recipes. It’s also the parties and special occasions that bring family and friends together in the spirit of celebration, sharing and joy.
Two recent studies point to the positive health outcomes of consuming mangos. Findings in two areas confirm mango consumption is associated with better overall diet quality and intake of nutrients.
There is the positive health outcomes of consuming mangos. Findings in two areas confirm mango consumption is associated with better overall diet quality and intake of nutrients. For example, snacking on mangos may improve glucose control and reduce inflammation in contrast to other sweet snacks.
With mangos consumed widely in global cuisines and 58% of Americans reporting snacking at least once a day in 2021, this new research provides added evidence that regularly consuming mangos may have health advantages and be relevant to cultural dietary preferences and current eating patterns.
“As immunity remains a priority for consumers today, we’ll continue to see a rise in plant-based options on menus to meet the demand,” Suwann Frison marketing manager at NMB Foodservice said. “Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals, making it a versatile and healthy ingredient.”
Snacking on mangos may improve glucose control and reduce inflammation in contrast to other sweet snacks.
Do you want to live another decade? A new study shows a plant-rich diet can add 10 years to your life.
The study, published in PLOS Medicine, examined a diet which was heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans and grains. According to the models, a 20-year-old who went all-in on the plant-based diet could add 10 years to their life. Even just making a partial change could add six years of life expectancy. And, an 80-year-old who started a plant-based diet could add three years to their life.
The study was conducted by scientists at the University of Bergen, Norway, and titled “Estimating Impact of Food Choices on Life Expectancy: A Modeling Study.
“A sustained dietary change may give substantial health gains for people of all ages both for optimized and feasible changes. Gains are predicted to be larger the earlier the dietary changes are initiated in life,” according to the study authors.
Like the Alliance for Food and Farming’s popular residue calculator, which clearly and visually shows consumers how safe their favorite fruits and vegetables are, the study authors created their own calculator, Food4HealthyLife, where users can calculate how dietary changes can impact their life expectancy.
This new study complements decades of research that verifies consumption of fruits and vegetables prevents diseases, boosts immune function, promotes better health, improves cognition and increases lifespan. It is worth noting that most of these positive health studies were conducted using conventionally grown produce.
The overwhelming nutritional benefits of a produce-rich diet and the equally impressive science showing the safety of all fruits and vegetables is why consumers should ignore efforts by certain groups who attempt to discourage consumption of popular produce items by using inaccurate and inflammatory safety claims.
With only one in 10 of Americans eating enough each day, according to a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control, consumers should be urged to eat whatever produce they enjoy and is accessible and affordable for them. Organic and conventionally grown – both are safe and can be eaten with confidence.
Let science be your guide and don’t let anyone or any group discourage you from eating the fruits and vegetables you prefer.
As low fruit and vegetable consumption continues to contribute to diet-related chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, two new research studies find regular mango consumption may improve diets and help manage key risk factors that contribute to chronic disease.
Specifically, these new studies report findings in two areas: 1) mango consumption is associated with better overall diet quality and intake of nutrients that many children and adults lack at optimum levels, and 2) snacking on mangos may improve glucose control and reduce inflammation in contrast to other sweet snacks.
With mangos consumed widely in global cuisines and 58% of Americans reporting snacking at least once a day in 20211, this new research provides added evidence that regularly consuming mangos may have health advantages and be relevant to cultural dietary preferences and current eating patterns.
Mango consumption associated with higher diet quality and better intakes of nutrients of concern in children and adults
A recent observational study found positive outcomes in nutrient intakes, diet quality, and weight-related health outcomes in individuals who consume mangos versus those who do not2. The study, published in Nutrients in January 2022, used United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2018 data to compare the diets and nutrient intakes of mango consumers to people who did not consume mangos.
Both studies were supported by funds from the National Mango Board.
The study showed that children who regularly ate mango had higher intakes of immune-boosting vitamins A, C and B6, as well as fiber and potassium. Fiber and potassium are two of the four “nutrients of concern” as defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which means many Americans are not meeting recommendations for these.
In adults, researchers found similar results, showing that mango consumption was associated with significantly greater daily intakes of fiber and potassium but also vitamins A, B12, C, E and folate, a vitamin critical during pregnancy and fetal development. For both children and adults, consuming mango was associated with a reduced intake in sodium and sugar, and for adults was associated with a reduced intake of cholesterol.
“We have known for a long time that there is a strong correlation between diet and chronic disease,” says Yanni Papanikolaou, researcher on the project. “This study reveals that both children and adults eating mangos tend to have significantly better diet quality overall along with higher intakes of fiber and potassium compared with those who don’t eat mangos. It is also important that mango fits into many diverse cuisines. Whole fruits are under consumed, and mango can encourage fruit consumption especially among growing diverse populations.”
Snacking on mangos associated with better glucose control and lower inflammation
In addition to these broad benefits of mango consumption, a separate pilot study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases in 2022 looked at mango as a snack and found that consuming whole mangos as a snack versus a control snack had better health outcomes in overweight and obese adults3. Given 97% of American adults consume snacks that contribute up to 24% of their daily energy intake4 this study sought to compare snacking on 100 calories of fresh mango daily to snacking on low-fat cookies that were equal in calories.
Twenty-seven adults participated in the study, all classified as overweight or obese based on Body Mass Index (BMI) and reported no known health conditions. Participants were given either mango or low-fat cookies as a snack while maintaining their usual diet and physical level for 12 weeks, and after a four-week wash-out period the alternating snack was given for another 12 weeks.
Researchers measured the effects on glucose, insulin, lipid profiles, liver function enzymes and inflammation. At the end of the trial period, findings indicated that mango consumption improved glycemic control (an individual’s ability to manage blood glucose levels, an important factor in preventing and managing diabetes) and reduced inflammation.
Results showed there was no drop in blood glucose when participants snacked on low-fat cookies. However, when snacking on mangos there was a statistically significant (p= 0.004) decrease in blood glucose levels at four weeks and again at 12 weeks, even though there was twice as much sugar, naturally occurring, in the mangos compared to the cookies. Researchers also observed statistically significant improvements to inflammation markers, total anti-oxidant capacity (TAC) and C-reactive protein (CRP), when snacking on mangos. TAC is a measurement of overall antioxidant capacity, or how well foods can prevent oxidation in cells. CRP is biomarker used to measure inflammation in the body. The research suggest that the antioxidants abundant in mangos offered more protection against inflammation compared to the cookies.
“The findings of this study show that antioxidants, fiber and polyphenols abundant in mango may help to offset sugar consumption and aide in glucose control. Antioxidants may also offer protection against inflammation” says Dr. Mee Young Hong, lead investigator on the study and Professor in the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. “Further research is needed but the initial findings are encouraging for people who enjoy sweet snacks.”
Some limitations in this study include sample size, using only one dose of mango, and measuring effects on participants without any pre-existing conditions. Further research should explore optimal dose of mango and examine long-term effects of mango consumption on those with metabolic conditions. It would also be of benefit to compare mango to a fiber-matched control snack to distinguish the effects of fiber versus the bioactive compounds in mangos.
With only 99 calories and over 20 different vitamins and minerals, a 1 cup serving of mango is nutrient-dense, making it a superfood. Because mangos are widely consumed in cultures around the world and United States, research into their health benefits contributes to a better understanding of their place in a healthy diet.