Archive For The “Health” Category

Benefits of Produce Prescriptions are Highlighted in Study

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This is a post from the Alliance for Food and Farming on September 12, 2023:

Just in time for “National Fruits and Veggies Month,” a new study on the health benefits of produce prescriptions was published.

The peer reviewed study found that when doctors and health-care providers “prescribed” fruits and vegetables, patients ate more produce, lost weight and experienced significant reductions in blood pressure.

Researchers studied over 3,800 people from low-income neighborhoods who received food vouchers through nine programs in 12 states. The participants received vouchers or cards worth $15 to $300 per month to buy more fruits and vegetables from farmers markets and grocery stores.

At the end of the study, adults reported eating an average of 0.85 additional cups of fruits and vegetables per day or 30 percent more each day. Children in the study ate 0.26 cups more or about 7 percent more per day. According to the study authors, the effect of more fruits and vegetables on blood pressure in adults was about half that of commonly prescribed medications, which is notable for a change in diet.

This new study complements previous studies examining produce prescriptions.

One study from Tufts University found that “prescriptions” for fruits and veggies would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) and 350,000 deaths, as well as cut healthcare costs by $40 billion.

With only one in 10 of Americans eating enough produce each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the health community continues to look for ways to increase consumption of these nutrient-dense foods.

Studies and analyses on produce prescription program results show promise in their ability to improve diets and consumer health.

The study results also underscore the importance of consumers having access to more affordable and available fruits and vegetables, especially during periods of rising costs and inflation.

Consumer choice is a key Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) message. The AFF encourages consumers to choose the fruits and vegetables they enjoy and are affordable and accessible for them but choose to eat more every day for better health and a longer life.

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The CDC Confirmed Watercress the Healthiest Vegetable in the World

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Step aside, kale—there’s a new superfood on the scene. Agriculture and nutrition experts have recently identified the healthiest vegetable on Earth.

The CDC assigns nutrition density scores to produce based on their concentration of essential vitamins and minerals. Usual suspects like spinach, chard, and beet greens all have scores ranging in the 80s. But the only vegetable to earn a perfect score of 100 is watercress.

“What’s watercress?” you may ask. This leafy green is part of the Brassicaceae family and grows in bodies of fresh water, like streams and ponds. It’s closely related to cabbage, kale, radishes, and mustard. Its scientific name, Nasturtium officinale, translates from Latin as “nose twister.” And if you’ve ever taken a bite of the mature leaves, you know why.

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New Study: Prunes May Contribute to Cardiovascular Health

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Daily prune consumption has promising effects on several biomarkers related to cardiovascular health, according to new research by the American Society of Nutrition (ASN).

The study was conducted in postmenopausal women and men 55 years and older, revealing that, in men, long-term prune consumption improved HDL cholesterol and the total cholesterol to HDL ratio, while decreasing oxidative stress and the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein.

HDL is commonly known as “good cholesterol”, and inflammatory biomarkers are released during tumor growth. They are highly associated with stages of cancer progression

Previous research has shown that daily prune consumption can support gut health, bone health, and weight management.

As for older women, consumption had no negative effect on various metabolic measures related to heart disease risk including total cholesterol, total triglycerides, fasting glucose, and insulin levels.

“We want to advance the research on this topic area to better understand how prune consumption relates to cardiometabolic health outcomes, especially in the aging population that often experiences an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease,” says Pennsylvania State University professor Mary Jane De Souza.

The results of both studies were presented at the ASN annual flagship meeting in Boston, MA recently. 

“While all fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients, prunes make for an easy, convenient and versatile snack or recipe ingredient that is accessible year-round and can help support consumers’ cardiovascular health goals,” adds Nutrition Advisor for the California Prune Board, Andrea N. Giancoli.

The ASN convenes researchers, practitioners, global and public health professionals, policymakers and advocacy leaders, industry, media, and other related professionals to advance nutrition science and its practical application.

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High Nutritional Value Boosts Popularity of Passion Fruit

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Passion fruit is native to Peru’s Amazon region, and its high nutritional value has granted it popularity around the world.

The seeds have high oil content and are easily digestible, and its peel is rich in pectin, which is a natural gelling agent that can also be used to combat constipation.

It is low in fat, and has tranquilizing and detoxifying properties.

“Because of its important nutritional properties, passion fruit is in demand by the juice and cosmetics industry, hence it is expected to be in the top 5 of the most exported Peruvian fruits,” reports the Peru Exporter’s Association.

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Study Suggests Strawberry Consumption May Benefit Older Adults

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Daily strawberry consumption was linked to improved cognitive function, lower blood pressure and higher antioxidant capacity in a randomized clinical trial presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition (ASN). 

The study, conducted at San Diego State University, builds on previous research demonstrating the cardiovascular, metabolic and cognitive health benefits of strawberries. 

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 35 healthy men and women, aged 66 to 78. Participants consumed 26 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder, equivalent to two servings of strawberries daily, or a control powder for eight weeks each.

Following strawberry consumption, cognitive processing speed increased by 5.2%, systolic blood pressure decreased by 3.6% and total antioxidant capacity significantly increased by 10.2%. Waist circumference decreased by 1.1% during both the control and intervention arms of the trial. While consuming the control powder, participants experienced increased serum triglycerides.

“This study demonstrates that consuming strawberries may promote cognitive function and improve cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension,” said Shirin Hooshmand, professor in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at San Diego State and principal investigator on the study. “We’re encouraged that a simple dietary change, like adding strawberries to the daily diet, may improve these outcomes in older adults.”

Strawberries are a source of many bioactive compounds. In addition to providing 100% of our daily vitamin C needs, strawberries contain heart-healthy nutrients like folate, potassium, fiber, phytosterols and polyphenols.

Previous clinical trials have connected strawberry consumption to improvements in several markers for cardiovascular disease, including reduced total and LDL cholesterol (TC) and lower blood pressure. 

The link between strawberry consumption and brain health has also been well explored in both clinical and population-based studies. Strawberries and pelargonidin, a biochemical primarily found in strawberries, were associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s dementia in studies conducted at Rush University. Long-term observational studies, including the Health Professionals Study and the Nurses’ Health Study, found that strawberry consumers had lower rates of cognitive decline.

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Benefits of Cherries Range from being Nutritional to Providing Antioxidents for Stress, Sleep

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YAKIMA, WA — Growers in the Northwest are shipping sweet cherries now, stocking produce sections across the nation with this summertime superfruit. Loadings will continue into August.

Sweet cherries deliver a juicy burst of flavor, while boasting an abundance of nutritional benefits sure to help maintain a healthy glow all summer long.

From giving skin a boost of nourishment with rich antioxidant properties to helping reduce stress and improve sleep, sweet cherries provide a powerful punch of glow-friendly nutrition in a convenient, compact and naturally delicious package.

“This season, we are expecting a large crop of Northwest-grown sweet cherries from orchards across our five-state footprint.” said B.J. Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers. “The larger crop will lend to more accessible pricing, with all the flavor and nutrients sweet Northwest cherries are known for. We expect sweet Northwest cherries to be available well into August.”

Sweet cherries boast an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, making them a true superfruit. Their vibrant red hue is a testament to their high antioxidant content, which helps combat harmful free radicals and promotes overall well-being. Loaded with vitamin C, sweet cherries help boost the immune system and assist in keeping skin glowing. These marvelous fruits also contain potassium, promoting heart health and contributing to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

“Sweet cherries are sure to give your skin a boost of nourishment,” said Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, assistant professor at Central Washington University. “Look for darker varieties like Bing cherries, as they are rich in antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory benefits. These antioxidants can also help protect your skin from environmental factors, like dirt and pollution, and preserve a youthful appearance.”

Sweet cherries are a versatile fresh fruit — they can be enjoyed by the handful or incorporated into a variety of different recipes, including burgers, salsa, bruschetta, salads and even cocktails. They are also the perfect snack to pack for a cookout.

On a grocery run during the short cherry season, adding a bag of sweet Northwest cherries to the cart can fuel a summertime glow up. Fresh, sweet Northwest cherries are available now through August. Recipes, preservation tips — to maintain a glow year-round — and inspiration on incorporating sweet cherries into everyday diets can be found at:

About Northwest Cherry Growers
Founded in 1947, the Northwest Cherry Growers is a growers’ organization funded solely by self-imposed fruit assessments used to increase awareness and consumption of regionally grown stone fruits. The organization is dedicated to the promotion, education, market development and research of cherries from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana orchards.

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Del Monte Survey: Consumers Prefer Fruit for Snacking

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WALNUT CREEK, CA — Del Monte Foods, Inc. recently released survey data1 on snacking attitudes and behaviors for U.S. consumers. As adults continue to snack more than ever, the survey revealed that fueling up with fruit is one of the top ways to feel better while snacking, with more than two-thirds of adults reaching for fruit when they want to feel their best. Adults are also seeking to relive the joy of their childhood snacks, with fruit cups and fruit snacks topping the list of snacks they wish were more geared toward adults. The survey is timed with the release of two new flavors of Del Monte’s® Fruit Refreshers®, adult fruit snack cups which meet the need for nutritious, delicious and convenient snacks, and give consumers a grown-up version of the fruit cups they’ve been missing.

The survey revealed that a majority of general consumers regularly replace meals with snacks, with parents especially likely to “snackstitute.” And while taste, nutritional content and convenience top the list of what people are looking for in snacks, fruit, in particular, is a key component of what snackers are missing.

Survey highlights include:

  • As the act of “joy snacking” has gained popularity in recent months, fueling up with fruit is one of the best pick-me-ups: More than two-thirds of adults reach for fruit-based snacks when they want to feel their best – significantly higher than any other snack options.
  • Adults are missing their favorite childhood snacks like fruit cups, and parents intentionally seek out snacks that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults: More than a quarter of adults – and almost half of parents – wish fruit cups were more geared toward adults.
  • Summer calls for light, refreshing snack choices: Nearly all adults crave more refreshing snacks in the summer.
  • Parents are especially in need of snacks on-the-go, both for their kids and themselves: More than three-quarters of adults (85% parents vs. 70% non-parents) say convenience and portability are qualities they consider when purchasing snacks.
  • Snacks remain a universally enjoyed, consistent activity for all, but parents are more likely to replace meals with snacks: A majority of adults regularly replace meals with snacks, with parents much more likely to do so (eight in 10 parents vs. two-thirds of non-parents).
  • Fruit is a key component of what is currently missing from snacks: Taste and nutritional content top the list of what people are looking for in snacks, with more than a quarter of adults saying snacks are lacking in fruits.

“We’re thrilled to learn a bit more about the snacking attitudes of our consumer base and to be able to meet their desires with our Fruit Refreshers® product line,” says Brand Manager Chris Kocur. “The new flavors, Pineapple & Mango in Prickly Pear Flavored Fruit Water and Peaches in Honeysuckle Flavored Fruit Water, provide a delicious, convenient and refreshing snack for busy parents and adults in need of a mid-afternoon pick me up, or those who are looking for a grown-up version of the fruit cups they loved as children.”

Del Monte’s® Fruit Refreshers® are a portable, refreshing snacking option made with real fruit that help quench thirst while satisfying taste buds. They offer a one-two punch of exotic flavor while being an excellent source of Vitamin C, with each serving providing 70% of the daily value. Del Monte’s® Fruit Refreshers® are available at major retailers nationwide such as Walmart, Target, Publix and more, have no artificial sweeteners and are non-GMO2 and non-BPA lining3.

In addition to the two newly released flavors, existing products include Grapefruit & Oranges in Pomegranate Flavored Fruit Water, Peaches & Chia in Strawberry Dragon Fruit Flavored Fruit Water, Red Grapefruit in Guava Flavored Fruit Water and Pears & Chia in Blackberry Flavored Limeade. They are sold in 2 7-oz cups with an MSRP of $3.99.

About Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods, Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of Del Monte Pacific Limited (Bloomberg: DELM SP, DELM PM) and is not affiliated with certain other Del Monte companies around the world, including Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Del Monte Canada, or Del Monte Asia Pte. Ltd.

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Study: Spotlights the Mood Boosting Benefits of Watermelons

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“Want to be happier this season? Add watermelon to your grocery cart.” That’s the core message of a new promotion the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) is launching this summer leveraging recent data that showcases watermelon’s inherent role in making fans feel happier.

The NWPB’s “Slice of Happy Project” is inspired by its 2022 consumer research[1] that finds 82% of consumers say eating watermelon boosts their mood, and more than half report feeling “happy” or “fantastic” after eating watermelon[2].

“The connection between food and mood is a major culinary topic in 2023, and we want to meet that moment with a fresh campaign and research that underscores what we have long known: Eating watermelon brings joy,” said Senior Director of Communications, Stephanie Barlow at NWPB. “We’re excited to unveil ‘The Slice of Happy Project’ as we remind consumers the many ways they can be happier with watermelons year-round from savoring a slice by the campfire, to tossing into a salad, to warming it up over the grill.”

Launching tomorrow, June 1, “The Slice of Happy Project” will feature:

  • A beautifully crafted “Slice of Happy Project” landing page at featuring:
    • Stats sharing watermelon’s contribution to happiness.
    • An interactive quiz that curates recipe inspiration based on personal preferences and moods.
    • Mood-boosting music.
    • An opportunity for visitors to sign up to receive a digital happiness kit filled with stickers, backgrounds and more.
  • Social media promotions to highlight key messages to shoppers nationwide.
  • Consumer media outreach to promote the recent research.

Research: “100% Happiness After Eating a Slice”

Additional findings from NWPB’s recent consumer research found:

  • 100% of watermelon consumers say watermelon makes them feel either very happy (70%) or somewhat happy (30%)1.
  • More than half of consumers report feeling “happy” (39%) or “fantastic” (13%) when eating watermelon. Others feel refreshed (12%), relaxed (5%) and satisfied (4%).
  • A majority (81%) consider watermelon a “comfort food.”

The study was conducted through Aimpoint Research and surveyed over 1,000 U.S. adults who are the primary grocery shoppers and are 18 years of age. The group surveyed was about 53% female and 47% male. The purpose of the study was designed to measure the attitudes and usage of watermelon, identify perceived benefits of watermelon, discover consumer opinion and purchasing intent1.

About National Watermelon Promotion Board

The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB), based in Winter Springs, Florida, was established in 1989 as an agricultural promotion group to promote watermelon in the United States and in various markets abroad. Funded through a self-mandated industry assessment paid by more than 700 watermelon producers, handlers and importers, NWPB mission is to increase consumer demand for watermelon through promotion, research and education programs.

A serving of nutrient-dense watermelon provides an excellent source of vitamin C (25% DV), a source of vitamin B6 (8% DV) and a delicious way to stay hydrated (92% water) with only 80 calories per 2-cup serving. Watermelon consumption per capita in the United States was nearly 15.5 pounds in 2022. Watermelon consumption in the United States was nearly5.2 billion pounds in 2022. The United States exported an additional 328 million pounds of watermelon. For additional information, visit

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The Health Benefits of Artichokes

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Springtime is here with warmer days, blooming plants, and most prime artichoke season!

Ocean Mist Farms is the largest grower of fresh artichokes in North America. Fresh Ocean Mist Farms Artichokes are grown year-round in three fertile California growing regions; Castroville, Oxnard, and Coachella. These growing regions are strategically located in areas with prime soil and microclimates to enable year-round production of the highest quality and freshest tasting artichokes, in multiple varieties!

From anti-inflammatory to sleep-promoting properties, the artichoke has an extensive list of various health benefits! Artichokes are anti-inflammatory and can be used as a digestive aid to improve the digestive system while lowering your autoimmune response. They also contain antioxidants that fight free radicals and help protect against aging. Artichokes are rich in vitamins including magnesium, which can help with sleeping. Further, because artichokes are a great source of pre-and pro-biotics, they can improve nutrient absorption and gut health, and increase energy production.

How do you prep artichokes?

Don’t let prepping this prickly vegetable intimidate you! We’ve got you covered with five simple steps.

  1. Rinse and scrub – Start by rinsing and lightly scrubbing the natural film off the artichoke
  2. “Top and tail” – Cut the top and the end of the tail off the artichoke, then snip the tip of each leaf with kitchen shears for a restaurant-ready presentation
  3. Rub with lemon – Rub fresh lemon all over artichoke to prevent the artichoke from browning
  4. Spread petals – Loosen and spread the “petals” of the artichoke
  5. Add seasoning – Add your preferred seasoning and enjoy!

Whether baked, steamed, microwaved, pressure-cooked, or grilled, artichokes will be the star of any table! This unique vegetable is delicious no matter how it’s prepared. For great recipes check out Ocean Mist Farms website or facebook page.

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Meatballs, Tacos, Mushrooms, Bolognese Used as Plant-Based Walnut Protein.

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Meatballs, tacos and Bolognese, not to mention mushrooms, can all be plant-based using walnut protein.

The California Walnut Commission is on a campaign from May through June to highlight the versatility of walnut meat.

The California Walnuts retail team is promoting a delicious cross-merchandising trifecta: Walnuts with Natural Delights dates and BelGioioso cheese, particularly the mascarpone and creamy gorgonzola.

The co-branded promotion will initially be featured at Hy-Vee, Marc’s, Strack & Van Til, Cub Foods and Albertsons/Vons SoCal, according to a news release. The promotion will go live on May 15.

The retail partnership builds on the popularity of walnuts as a snack. Four in five — or 191 million — American consumers eat walnuts, according to a Consumer Snacking Survey by Kelton in partnership with California Walnuts in 2021. 


The walnut meat campaign highlights the versatility of using walnuts this way and how easy it is to prepare at home. Ground walnuts can be added to other pantry staples with favorite spices to provide an easy boost of nutrition with flavor and a similar texture of traditional meat.

Kerry Taste Charts listed walnuts as the No. 1 ingredient for meat alternatives in 2021, according to the release.

For this campaign, California Walnuts is partnering with two popular food influencers, Yumna Jawad (@Feel Good Foodie) and Justine Doiron (@Justine_Snacks). They will showcase new plant-based recipes crafted with walnut meat. For example, Jawad will develop and share her custom recipe for stuffed shells with walnut meat on Instagram and TikTok.

“Walnuts truly mimic the texture of ground beef with just a quick pulse in the food processor — and they can be flavored with virtually any type of seasoning I like,” Jawad said in the release. “It’s fast, simple and easy — and includes ingredients you already have in your pantry.”

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