Archive For The “Health” Category

Study: Eating Potatoes is Not Associated with Elevated Heart Risk in Adolescent Girls

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Adolescence is a critical period for the evolution of cardiometabolic risk factors that are largely influenced by diet and lifestyle. Understanding these risk factors is essential to developing effective dietary guidance for disease prevention targeting this critical age period. Recently published research in the British Journal of Nutrition found that 9-17 year-old girls who consumed up to one cup of potatoes daily had no increased risk of becoming overweight or developing high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, or impaired fasting glucose by the end of the study in late adolescence.

According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, girls aged 9 – 18 are encouraged to consume 1½ to 3-cup equivalents per day of vegetables, depending on their calorie needs, but most fail to meet these guidelines. In this study, the highest levels of potato consumption ranged from 1/5 to 1 cup per day and at that level, no adverse effects were observed.

“Our results show that nutrient-rich potatoes can be part of a healthy diet in young girls during this important period of growth and development,” says Lynn L. Moore, DSc, MPH, Boston University, the study’s senior author. “There is growing evidence that overall diet quality is what really matters in the preservation of heart health. Potatoes are an affordable food, with a number of valuable nutrients, and our research suggests that moderate intakes of potatoes, along with many other types of vegetables,  can be a regular part of a healthy diet pattern.”

Higher intakes of all forms of potatoes (including fried) during the ‘tween’ years of nine to 11 were associated with higher intakes of potassium and dietary fiber, two nutrients of public health concern, [i]   as well as vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium. Black girls in this study with the highest intakes of potatoes also consumed more fruit and non-starchy vegetables and had higher diet-quality scores.

Study Design, Strengths and Limitations

The researchers analyzed data from nearly 2,000 subjects (approximately 50% Black, 50% White) from the National Growth and Health Study, a longitudinal study of the development of obesity and other cardiovascular-related outcomes in adolescent girls.

  • For girls at 9-11 years of age, researchers analyzed data on total potato intake (white and sweet) as well as separate intakes of fried and non-fried potatoes.
  • For girls at 9-17 years of age, researchers analyzed data for total potato intake (white and sweet).

Diet was assessed using 3-day diet records at baseline when girls were 9-10 years old, and during the follow-up years 2-5, 7, 8, and 10. The intake of potatoes (both white and sweet potatoes) was extracted from total vegetable servings. Anthropometric measures of body fat and body composition and blood pressure were measured annually. Additionally, fasting triglycerides, other lipids, and glucose were measured in later adolescence (at 18-20 years of age)

Repeated measures of a number of potential confounding variables were examined, including socioeconomic status, body mass index (BMI), changes in height, physical activity, television viewing, intakes of food groups and nutrients, as well as diet quality measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015. The study’s strengths include its prospective design as well as the use of multiple sets of three-day diet records, which is considered the gold standard method for dietary assessment. Researchers also took repeated measures of cardiometabolic risk factors and most potential confounders.

The investigators acknowledge limitations to the study, such as reliance on self-reported dietary intakes from adolescents who may have had difficulty accurately estimating portion sizes and reporting details. However, parents and other caregivers were actively involved in the completion of these diet records, especially during the earlier years of the study. Researchers were unable to assess the effects of very high levels of potato intakes since few girls reported consuming more than one cup equivalent of potatoes per day. They were also unable to analyze any differences between white and sweet potato consumption, given the low intakes of sweet potatoes within the study population. Finally, the researchers were unable to control for baseline values of fasting glucose or triglycerides due to missing or unreliable data at the initial exam.

This study was selected as the Nutrition Society’s Paper of the Month. Every month, the Editors-in-Chief of the Nutrition Society’s journals select one paper as being of particular interest or originality, and/or because it challenges previously conceived notions in nutritional science and public health. The research manuscript, “Potato consumption is not associated with elevated cardiometabolic risk in adolescent girls,” is published in the British Journal of Nutrition (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114521003445). Authors include Ioanna Yiannakou, Mengjie Yuan, R. Taylor Pickering, Martha R. Singer, and Lynn L. Moore, Boston University. In addition to funding from the National Institutes of Health, funding was provided by the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE); APRE had no input on interpretation of the results or manuscript development.

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Organic Produce Forecast to Increase by Up to 10% in 2022

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Canadian company Execulytis Consulting reports growth will be largely driven by those under 25 years old increasing their purchasing power.

Likewise, Category Partners of Idaho Falls, ID notes more product availability and the narrowing price gap between organic and conventional produce items is also spurring the market. This price gap has gradually narrowed over time due to more product being available. This will continue to put downward pressure on prices in the future.

A recent Execulytics Consulting survey of 5,000 Canadian grocery shoppers found 39% of consumers under 25 (Generation Z) say organic is always their preferred choice or that they only buy organic products. This compares with 25% of those over 25 saying the same.

This survey revealed consumers under 25 have shown an interest in more specialty products including mangoes, limes and Asian vegetables, and this could provide a growth opportunity for such products. At the same time, they have purchased fewer bananas, apples, potatoes and strawberries than their older counterparts. While this younger age group is not fully in the marketplace yet, they will increase their purchasing power and thus drive growth of organic produce in the future.

During the pandemic, consumers moved toward products they perceived as providing a safer way to obtain food naturally, and this positively affected the organic market.

This perception of safety also gave a boost to packaged produce products. In the past, retailers have been focused on the number of unique items they carry, but the current labor shortage has put pressure on those offerings, which in turn has affected the number of unique organic items retailers can offer.

Carlson Produce Consulting of Chicago notes while the organic market has experienced double-digit growth in the past, that growth has slowed, saying the category is maturing.

However, the growth of indoor farming will boost the segment, and CPC reports there is significant opportunity for indoor farming to grow. The company reports the availability of product on a 52-week basis will be key to driving growth of specific items including blueberries. With this increased availability the market could get a boost from items that aren’t typically the highest drivers of sales.

Category Parnters notes unique salad blends coming out of urban greenhouse environments will drive growth as consumers are discovering those products, and they come with a higher retail price.

During the third quarter of 2021, total organic sales dollars increased by 3.4% compared with the same quarter of the previous year, according to the Organic Produce Network, Category Partners and Nielsen. This compared with a third quarter of 2020 that was influenced by pandemic-driven shopping. Conventional produce dollars increased by 1.3% in comparison. Berries, apples and packaged salads accounted for 85% of all organic fresh produce dollar growth during the third quarter. Berries specifically grew in sales dollars by 11% during the quarter.

In the future the growth of the segment will not be limited by demand but by supply. When consumers are surveyed, they indicate they believe organic produce is superior in every way, indicating a larger share of consumers will act on that preference as more options become more affordable.

Category Partners observes it is not a question of consumer demand, but supplier capabilities and grower capabilities.

During the third quarter of 2021, organic produce represented 12% of the total produce market in the U.S. and it is conceivable the organic segment could gain another 10 percentage points of growth over the next 10 years.

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Rising Popularity of All-Yellow Flesh Potatoes Continues Trend

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By MountainKing, Houston, TX

All-yellow flesh potatoes continue to rise above russets, reds and whites in the critical metric of retailer volume sales, an encouraging sign for grocers as growers ready for their upcoming fall harvests.

In the last 52 weeks ending June 13, 2021, retailer volume sales of all-yellow flesh potatoes are up 9.56%, far outpacing reds (up 0.82%), russets (down 3.91%) and whites (down 8.42%) according to the research firm IRI.

Over a broader timespan, 2021 retailer profits from all-yellow flesh varieties to date represent 11.3% of the potato category, up from 8.8% in 2017.

“There continues to be huge growth potential with the all-yellow flesh varieties, particularly among younger, more health-conscious millennial shoppers looking for a flavorful potato side dish,” says Andreas Trettin, director marketing for MountainKing.  

Trettin adds MountainKing has witnessed similar growth trends with its popular all-yellow flesh varieties packaged as Butter Russets, presenting the look of a traditional russet; Butter Golds with their yellow and smooth skin; and its oval-shaped Butter Reds. 

All three varietals, he explains, offer a creamy, smooth texture and a rich, natural buttery flavor requiring fewer ingredients and toppings.

“The feedback from consumers, across the board, is that the all-yellow flesh varieties offer a better taste when compared to regular russets and reds,” Trettin says. “What we’re seeing is really an evolution in cooking styles with the routine and conventional giving way to creativity and adventure.” 


MountainKing Potatoes is one of the world’s largest growers of high-flavor potato varieties.

 

 

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Jackfruit Perfect for Plant-Based Diet Beginners as Meat Substitute

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If you’ve dipped your toes into plant-based eating, you’re probably familiar with meat substitutes such as lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. They each tend to shine in different recipes — beans and lentils lend themselves well to veggie burgers, for instance, and tofu shines in stir-fries. But when you’re trying to replicate the texture of pulled pork or another shredded meat, jackfruit reigns supreme.

What Is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is a tropical tree fruit usually grown in Asia, Africa, or South America, per the Cleveland Clinic.

As an ingredient, jackfruit can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, but people typically use it as a meat substitute. Jackfruit tends to take on the flavors of the spices and sauces you cook it with. “Its texture, similar to that of shredded meat, makes it a good meat substitute for the vegetarian and vegan population,” says Kristin Gillespie, RDN, a Virginia Beach–based nutrition support dietitian for Option Care Health and an advisor for Exercise With Style.

You can find different versions of jackfruit at the grocery store. “The ‘meat’ of the fruit is available in fresh, canned, or dried versions,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, the New York City–based author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You From Label to Table.

Some Notes on Cooking With Jackfruit

Replacing meat with plants offers several health benefits. When compared to conventional diets, plant-based diets have a positive effect on weight, metabolism, and inflammation, according to a September 2019 systematic review published in the journal Translational Psychiatry. People who follow a healthy plant-based diet tend to eat higher amounts of nutrient-rich foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumesaccording to an August 2019 research article published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. These foods are rich in potassiummagnesiumironvitamin Avitamin C, and folate, and they’re lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than the foods typically found in a meat eater’s diet. Per the 2019 research article, plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and mortality in generalThey may also lower body mass indexblood pressureHbA1C levels, and cholesterol levelsaccording to other past research.

Just keep in mind that jackfruit doesn’t have as much protein as meat. “Three and a half ounces of jackfruit supplies 1.7 grams (g) of protein, whereas animal protein like fish or poultry gives about 21 g for a similar portion size,” Taub-Dix says. “Unlike animal protein, however, jackfruit has no cholesterol or saturated fat.”

Jackfruit is also mainly carbohydrate-based, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to lose weight. “Since jackfruit contains nearly 40 g of carbs per cup, you’ll want to watch your portion size and the foods you pair with the fruit,” says Kelsey Lorencz, RDN, with Graciously Nourished in Saginaw, Michigan.

You might be intimidated by the look of this giant, prickly fruit, but it’s a worthy addition to your plant-based diet. 

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Study: Children Eating More Fruit and Vegetables Have Better Mental Health

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Children who eat more fruits and vegetables have better mental wellbeing, according to new research from the United Kingdom’s University of East Anglia Health and Social Care Partners.

The study shows that eating more fruit and vegetables is linked with better wellbeing among secondary school (middle to high school age) pupils in particular. What’s more, the research showed U.K. children who consumed five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day had the highest scores for mental wellbeing.

The study was led by UEA Health and Social Care Partners in collaboration with Norfolk County Council, according to a news release.

Public health strategies and school policies should be developed to ensure that good quality nutrition is available to all children before and during school to “optimize mental wellbeing and empower children to fulfil their full potential,” researchers said.
“While the links between nutrition and physical health are well understood, until now, not much has been known about whether nutrition plays a part in children’s emotional wellbeing,” lead researcher Professor Ailsa Welch, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said in the release. 

“So, we set out to investigate the association between dietary choices and mental wellbeing among schoolchildren.”
The research team studied 2017 data from almost 9,000 children in 50 schools across Norfolk (7,570 secondary and 1,253 primary school children) taken from the Norfolk children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Survey, according to the release. Children in the study self-reported their dietary choices and took part in age-appropriate tests of mental wellbeing that covered cheerfulness, relaxation, and having good interpersonal relationships, the release said.

The study found only around a quarter of secondary-school children and 28% of primary-school children reported eating the recommended five-a-day fruits and vegetables. What’s more, the study found that just under one in 10 children were not eating any fruits or vegetables.

The research team also looked at the association between nutritional factors and mental wellbeing and considered other factors that might have an impact – such as adverse childhood experiences and home situations.

“We found that eating well was associated with better mental wellbeing in children,” Richard Hayhoe, also from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said in the release. “And that among secondary school children in particular, there was a really strong link between eating a nutritious diet, packed with fruit and vegetables, and having better mental wellbeing.”

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New Food Freezing Method Could Improve Food Quality and Safety

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Shifting to a new food freezing method could make for safer and better quality frozen foods while saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, according to a new study by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and University of California-Berkeley scientists.

“A complete change over to this new method of food freezing worldwide could cut energy use by as much as 6.5 billion kilowatt-hours each year while reducing the carbon emissions that go along with generating that power by 4.6 billion kg, the equivalent of removing roughly one million cars from roads,” said ARS research food technologist Cristina Bilbao-Sainz. She is with the Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit, part of ARS’s Western Regional Research Center (WRRC) in Albany.

“T­hese savings could be achieved without requiring any significant changes in current frozen food manufacturing equipment and infrastructure if food manufacturers adopt this concept,” Bilbao-Sainz added.

The new freezing method, called isochoric freezing, works by storing foods in a sealed, rigid container—typically made of hard plastic or metal—completely filled with a liquid such as water. Unlike conventional freezing in which the food is exposed to the air and freezes solid at temperatures below 32 degrees F, isochoric freezing preserves food without turning it to solid ice.

As long as the food stays immersed in the liquid portion, it is protected from ice crystallization, which is the main threat to food quality.

“Energy savings come from not having to freeze foods completely solid, which uses a huge amount of energy, plus there is no need to resort to energy-intensive cold storage protocols such as quick freezing to avoid ice crystal formation,” Bilbao-Sainz said.

Isochoric freezing also allows for higher quality storage of fresh foods such as tomatoes, sweet cherries and potatoes that are otherwise difficult to preserve with conventional freezing.

Another benefit of isochoric freezing is that it also kills microbial contaminants during processing.

“The entire food production chain could use isochoric freezing—everyone from growers to food processors, product producers to wholesalers, to retailers. The process will even work in a person’s freezer at home after they purchase a product—all without requiring any major investments in new equipment,” said WRRC center director Tara McHugh, co-leader of this study. “With all of the many potential benefits, if this innovative concept catches on, it could be the next revolution in freezing foods.”

UC-Berkeley biomedical engineer Boris Rubinsky, co-leader of this project, first developed the isochoric freezing method to cryopreserve tissues and organs for transplants.

Since then, ARS and UC-Berkeley have applied for a joint patent for applying isochoric freezing to preserving food. The research team is now developing the best applications for this technology in the frozen foods industry, especially scaling up the technology to an industrial level. They also are seeking commercial partners to help transfer the technology to the commercial sector.

UC-Berkeley mechanical engineer Matthew Powell-Palm, one of the lead authors of the study paper, noted that “isochoric freezing is a cross-cutting technology with promising applications in not only the food industry, but in medicine, biology, even space travel.”

WRRC has also been designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 2002 by the American Chemical Society for developing the Time-Temperature Tolerance studies, which made possible the production of stable, safe and high-quality frozen food, revolutionizing the industry in the 1950s.

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Cranberry Institute Studies Fruit’s Health Benefits

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The Cranberry Institute offers an in-depth look at the health benefits of cranberries in the diet.

The group’s Cranberry Health Research Library offers a comprehensive collection of the latest research on the health benefits of cranberries in the diet.

According to The Cranberry Institute, current research reveals:

  • Cranberries are thought to provide health benefits due to their flavonoid and phytonutrient content. These naturally occurring compounds have antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits that are evident in the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract;
  • A specific type of flavonoid, proanthocyanidins in cranberries provide urinary tract benefits by interfering with the ability of pathogenic P-fimbriated E. coli to cause infections in the urinary tract;
  • The majority of studies have focused on the cranberry’s role in urinary tract health, but the benefits extend beyond the urinary tract. Other key areas include the berry’s antimicrobial activities, cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes, and anti-cancer properties; and
  • Cranberries provide numerous cardiovascular benefits. They have been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-oxidation, maintain or improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, reducing platelet aggregation and improve vascular function.

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A New Reason To Eat Organic: A Diverse Microbiome

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E

An organic apple contains more microscopic biodiversity, which is an essential ingredient for human health. This was revealed by Austrian research conducted in 2019 that compared the micro-biodiversity of conventionally grown and organic apples. Other new research indicates that microbial biodiversity is crucial for good health. And this is why Eosta is supporting a study carried out by Stichting Bac2nature (Bac2nature Foundation) and Maastricht University on the link between cultivation methods, microbial biodiversity and digestion. “Biodiversity is vitality,” according to Eosta CEO Volkert Engelsman.

Did you know that when you eat a complete apple you ingest approximately 100 million bacteria? Whether the apple is organic or conventionally grown is irrelevant, the quantity of bacteria is the same. But there is a substantive difference – The diversity of the bacteria on an organic apple is far greater, particularly in the flesh. In the Austrian apple study, the biodiversity of organic apples, measured using the Shannon Index, was approximately 6 and approximately 4 in the conventional apple. The Shannon Index is a measure of both the number of species and the degree of uniformity in their distribution. The better the biodiversity, the higher the score. Strikingly, the majority of bacteria were not on the skin. The largest quantity of bacteria and greatest differences in biodiversity were detected in the flesh and the core. Volkert Engelsman, CEO of Eosta: “It has long been known that intensive agriculture reduces the diversity of the microbiome in the soil. But now there is also evidence that intensive agriculture impoverishes the microbiome in our food. And that may not be beneficial to health.”

Bac2food will study this subject in-depth

Marco van Es, founder of stichting Bac2nature (Bac2nature Foundation), which studies the relationship between biodiversity and health dares to make an emphatic statement: “Biodiversity is at the core of our health.” In 2020, the foundation and Maastricht University jointly set up a research programme that is currently studying the links between microbial diversity in food and digestion in greater depth. The significant reduction in the cost of DNA analysis has made it much easier to study the biodiversity of microbiomes in food and in the body. Eosta is one of the players supporting the research.

The importance of microbiomes for health

The microbiome has a significant effect on health. Research has revealed that microbes can play a major role in malnourishment and obesity, and affect all our organs through the immune, nervous and vascular systems. By far the most bacteria (and moulds and other micro-organisms) in the human body are in our digestive system. There are approximately 100 times more bacteria in our intestines than on our skin (ten times as many in the lungs). And there also seems to be a clear link between the diversity of the microbiome in the intestines and health. Studies have highlighted a number of facts, including that healthy people over the age of 90 have greater biodiversity in their guts than average adults.

The importance of diversity in your microbiome
The biodiversity hypothesis, a new version of the old hygiene hypothesis, asserts that contact with the natural environment enriches the human microbiome, which boosts the immune system and provides protection against allergies and inflammatory diseases. Consequently, avoiding contact with natural biodiversity (e.g., by eating large amounts of processed and one-sided food) can have a negative influence on the immune system. Scientists agree that exposure to a highly diverse range of micro-organisms early in life is important for the prevention of an overactive immune system. The soil is an important factor in this. Infants growing up in natural surroundings and playing outside ingest large quantities of soil every day. This makes an important contribution to the development of their immune system.

New techniques make the loss of intestinal biodiversity visible

New organic research techniques are producing breakthroughs in this field. MWAS studies (Metagenome-Wide Association), which strive to map out the relationship between the human microbiome and complex diseases (such as Diabetes 2 or Rheumatoid Arthritis), show that the loss of biodiversity in the intestines is linked to the development of chronic ailments. “Nomics” techniques like genomics are steadily making it easier to unravel the connection between soil biodiversity, plant health, food quality and human health.

Logical from an evolutionary perspective
There are also evolutionary arguments supporting the importance of biodiverse microbiomes in food and our habitat. Humans evolved to exist together with a wide range of organisms in our living space and bodies. “And evolution works in such a way that unavoidable living conditions eventually become necessary living conditions,” says Marco van Es. The western lifestyle has a bad effect on the microbiome in the body. Apparently, peoples who live as hunter-gatherers (e.g., the Hadzas in Tanzania) have the highest level of biodiversity in their guts, followed by peoples who practice traditional agriculture, and people who live in western, urbanised societies languish at the bottom of the scale. In the “blue zones”, regions on earth where people have a very long average life span, people eat a lot of fresh, local and self-grown products – with more biodiversity as a result.

Organic food and health

All of this constitutes a new argument for the potential health-promoting effect of organic food. Although there is no scientific consensus regarding the healthiness of organic food, there are indicators. Firstly, organic food contains fewer pesticides, and it is known that pesticides cause a number of issues, including disrupting the hormonal balance. Considerably fewer pesticides are detected in the urine of people who have an organic diet. Secondly, organic foods frequently contain more nutrients such as antioxidants. The Austrian research is now providing a new argument – the microbiome of organic food has far greater diversity. For that matter, research conducted by Stanford University in 2012 showed that there are fewer multi-resistant (harmful) bacteria present on organic food.

Proof that the food microbiome influences the intestinal microbiome
Although it seems obvious, science does not yet recognise that the food microbiome also has an influence on the microbiome in the body. After all, bacteria that we eat always pass through a bath of stomach acid and other digestive processes. However, a study in the issue of Nature published on 25 May 2020 has now produced the first direct evidence that our food affects the microbiome in our guts – apparently, fermented food increases the level of lactic acid bacteria in our guts and blood. In addition, DNA research clearly points in one direction – the genome suggests that our intestinal bacteria all originated from food bacteria.

Balance between hygiene and biodiversity

According to Marco van Es at Bac2nature, a crucial question is – what is the best way to influence the biodiversity in your body with your food and lifestyle? You cannot just eat mud and rotting food because cases of large-scale food poisoning in the past have shown us that a lack of hygiene can be fatal. The question is – what is the best way to combine food safety and exposure to a microbiome?

Bac2food study: first results at the end of 2021

A great deal of research is needed to answer this. Since April 2021, Eosta has supported the Bac2food project, which is studying whether eating raw, fresh fruit and vegetables, grown with a rich microbiome, has an effect on the health of the digestive process. In the first instance, the research is studying the effect on digestion, which is modelled using an artificial digestive tract. The first results are expected in October or November 2021 and will be published in early 2022. The research is being conducted by Iris van Zoelen at Maastricht University under the supervision of professor Koen Venema (Maastricht) and professor Roel Kort (VU Amsterdam). It focuses specifically on growing methods for tomatoes, cucumber, paprika and lettuce. It must be noted that tomatoes, cucumber and paprika are grown in greenhouses, while lettuce is grown in soil outdoors.

The wider connection – biodiversity is crucial for the continued existence of humanity

Naturally, biodiversity is not only important in our body. The loss of biodiversity on earth is creating vulnerabilities in all areas – ecosystem services such as fertile soils, water availability and even the climate are affected by it. The same applies to the origination of zoonoses and new viruses such as Covid-19. In 2016, a joint venture including Stanford, Berkeley and New York universities asserted that the effect of the microbiome is an extremely important factor in all of the challenges facing humanity in the field of food, energy, clean water, health and ecosystems. In recent years, the NWO has also issued various research calls for more research on micro and macro biodiversity.

Biodiversity: potential USP for organic food

Volkert Engelsman, CEO of van Eosta: “We have degraded the macro-biodiversity of the planet, so we are now being troubled by the micro-biodiversity, with Corona as the current low point. It is becoming clear in a host of domains that biodiversity equals vitality. And that may well be a mega-unique selling point for organic produce. Humans are made from biodiversity. The cells in our bodies are full of material from micro-organisms, from our mitochondria to remnants of viral DNA. We must realise that microscopic life on earth is a precondition for life itself. Bacteria were always regarded as an enemy, as pathogens, in the past. In recent years it has become clear at break-neck speed that bacteria are, in the first place, partners and essential helpers that maintain the balance of human health and the health of the planet. This is why we must back away from chemistry and return to biology.”

In short: eat BIOdiVERSE

Engelsman continues: “Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology in London, wrote in his book The Diet Myth that the diversity of microbes in our bodies is now 30% less than 50 years ago. A diet of junk food dramatically reduces the healthy microbiome in the guts in two days. In short – a great deal of research must still be carried out, but in the meantime you would be wise to eat ‘biodiverse’. In other words, fresh and organic. According to Tim Spector, the only common factor in a healthy diet, healthy guts and a healthy body is diversity. And that is perfectly appropriate for the organic agriculture approach.”

Eosta, with Nature & More as its consumer brand and transparency system, is Europe’s most awarded distributor of organic fruit and vegetables. Eosta is known for its sustainability campaigns such as Living Wage, True Cost of Food and Dr. Goodfood. In 2018, the company won the King William I Plaque for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and in 2019 the European Business Award for the Environment. See also www.eosta.com and www.natureandmore.com.

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Avocados Change Belly Fat Distribution in Women, Controlled Study Finds

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An avocado a day could help redistribute belly fat in women toward a healthier profile, according to a new study from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and collaborators.

105 adults with overweight and obesity participated in a randomized controlled trial that provided one meal a day for 12 weeks. Women who consumed avocado as part of their daily meal had a reduction in deeper visceral abdominal fat.

Led by Naiman Khan, an Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health, the researchers published their study, funded by the Hass Avocado Board, in the Journal of Nutrition.

“The goal wasn’t weight loss; we were interested in understanding what eating an avocado does to the way individuals store their body fat. The location of fat in the body plays an important role in health,” Khan said.

“In the abdomen, there are two kinds of fat: fat that accumulates right underneath the skin, called subcutaneous fat, and fat that accumulates deeper in the abdomen, known as visceral fat, that surrounds the internal organs. Individuals with a higher proportion of that deeper visceral fat tend to be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. So we were interested in determining whether the ratio of subcutaneous to visceral fat changed with avocado consumption,” he said.

The participants were divided into two groups. One group received meals that incorporated a fresh avocado, while the other group received a meal that had nearly identical ingredients and similar calories but did not contain avocado.

At the beginning and end of the 12 weeks, the researchers measured participants’ abdominal fat and their glucose tolerance, a measure of metabolism and a marker of diabetes.

Female participants who consumed an avocado a day as part of their meal had a reduction in visceral abdominal fat – the hard-to-target fat associated with higher risk – and experienced a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, indicating a redistribution of fat away from the organs. However, fat distribution in males did not change, and neither males nor females had improvements in glucose tolerance.

“While daily consumption of avocados did not change glucose tolerance, what we learned is that a dietary pattern that includes an avocado every day impacted the way individuals store body fat in a beneficial manner for their health, but the benefits were primarily in females,” Khan said. “It’s important to demonstrate that dietary interventions can modulate fat distribution. Learning that the benefits were only evident in females tells us a little bit about the potential for sex playing a role in dietary intervention responses.”

The researchers said they hope to conduct a follow-up study that would provide participants with all their daily meals and look at additional markers of gut health and physical health to get a more complete picture of the metabolic effects of avocado consumption and determine whether the difference remains between the two sexes.

“Our research not only sheds a valuable light on benefits of daily avocado consumption on the different types of fat distribution across genders, it provides us with a foundation to conduct further work to understand the full impact avocados have on body fat and health,” said study coauthor Richard Mackenzie, a professor of human metabolism at the University of Roehampton in London.

“By taking our research further, we will be able to gain a clearer picture into which types of people would benefit most from incorporating avocados into their diets and deliver valuable data for health care advisers to provide patients with guidance on how to reduce fat storage and the potential dangers of diabetes,” Mackenzie said.

Researchers at the University of Florida and Eastern Illinois University also collaborated on this work.

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Envy Apples Deliver Brand Success in the U.S. Market

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Los Angeles – New Zealand Trade Commissioner, Los Angeles, Haylon Smith, and supermodel and actress, Rachel Hunter, recently joined T&G Global in Los Angeles to celebrate the Envy™ apple brand’s outstanding success in the North American market.

Over the past year, more than 2.1 million cartons of Envy™ apples were sold in the U.S. The in-demand premium apple brand has skyrocketed to the top of the sales charts for a branded apple, earning 18.3% dollar sales growth and 18.0% volume growth (Source: Nielsen, Total U.S., Apple Category, L 52 weeks ending September 11, 2021). In addition, the apple was recognized as “Best in Produce” by Kitchn in its 2021 “Kitchn Essentials: Grocery Edition,” an annual selection of the must-have grocery items hand-picked by Kitchn editors.

First launched in North American produce departments in 2010, after years of extensive evaluation by New Zealand researchers and apple growers to ensure the variety meets and exceeds consumer expectations, Envy™ is an apple renowned for its beautifully balanced flavor, uplifting aroma, crisp texture, and slices that stay white for longer. These are qualities prized by consumers around the globe, including in the U.S., with T&G Global’s recent U.S. shopper study finding Envy™ outperformed popular branded and mainstream apple varieties in frequency of shopping trips, spend per trip, buy rate and average basket size.

Today, Envy™ apples are grown in 15 countries, each carefully selected for its prime growing regions to produce Envy™ apples at the quality international consumers now expect from the brand. In the U.S., Envy™ apples are grown only in Washington state’s pristine apple growing regions.

New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles, Haylon Smith says “It’s great to see Envy™ supported by its hard working and dedicated apple growing community and its strong supply chain, succeeding in the U.S. market. The U.S. is crowded and competitive, so here at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise we work alongside Kiwi brands to help them grow and succeed. Envy™ has really captured and shared its New Zealand origin story and commitment to harnessing innovation and high quality as part of its premium positioning.”

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), which proactively supports the international growth and success of New Zealand products, has supported Envy™ apples in the U.S. with its “Made with Care” campaign, a global marketing initiative designed to grow awareness, preference and demand for New Zealand food and beverage products around the world.

Another proud New Zealand “export,” internationally acclaimed supermodel, actress and television host Rachel Hunter, has partnered with T&G Global to raise awareness of Envy™ apples. Rachel commented, “Coming from New Zealand, I’ve always had an appreciation for the care and dedication that our growers put into their produce. Almost every industry has faced unique COVID-19 related challenges over the last year and a half, and our community of growers have shown true New Zealand spirit in overcoming these challenges. It was great to meet with Trade Commissioner, Haylon Smith, to celebrate the 2021 season of Envy™ apples grown back home, and the continued success of these beautiful apples which are also grown here in the United States. I have long been a fan of Envy™ apples and it’s wonderful to see delicious Envy™ apples in stores worldwide.”

T&G Global’s Head of Marketing for North America, Cecilia Flores Paez was honored to accept recognition from these well-respected New Zealand representatives. “It is a joy to be a part of this beloved brand that exists today thanks to incredible dedication to innovation and commitment. New Zealand’s apple industry brought a beautiful piece of fruit to the world, truly providing the ultimate apple experience,” she said. “Envy™ continues to earn its success with every single bite, and we are introducing it to more and more consumers now that it is sold in nearly all major supermarkets in North America.”

Envy™ is marketed by CMI Orchards, Rainier Fruit Co. and Oppy. Visit envyapple.com

ABOUT T&G GLOBAL

T&G Global works with passionate growers around the world to produce, sell and deliver the highest-quality fruit. We love fresh produce, so we’re constantly exploring ways to make it more sustainable, fresh and delicious, to help people lead healthier lifestyles. T&G is a leader in the premium apple segment with its Envy™ and JAZZ™ branded varieties.     

ABOUT ENVY™

Envy™ is a trademarked brand that refers to the Scilate apple variety. It was developed in New Zealand by Plant & Food Research and was patented in 2009. T&G, which owns the Envy™ trademark, began distributing in the U.S. via its marketing partner Oppy. Envy™ is now grown, under license by T&G, in New Zealand, the U.S., Chile, Asia, the UK, France and Australia. Consumers in over 45 countries enjoy eating delicious Envy™ apples. Envy™ is marketed in the U.S. by Oppy, CMI Orchards and Rainier Fruit Co. 

ABOUT NEW ZEALAND TRADE AND ENTERPRISE

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is the New Zealand government’s international business development agency. Our job is to support exporters in order to grow a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. We work with all kinds of innovative businesses, including food producers, Māori land trusts and iwi, tech startups, service providers, manufacturers and more.

ABOUT RACHEL HUNTER

Rachel Hunter is an internationally known supermodel from Auckland, New Zealand, who began her successful career at the age of seventeen and has appeared on notable magazine covers and in films and television programs worldwide. Most recently, Rachel embarked on an odyssey exploring beauty and well-being in cultures all over the globe for her acclaimed television program, “Tour of Beauty.”  She has released a best-selling book chronicling her incredible experience.

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