Archive For The “Health” Category
Are Potatoes Good for You?
– An excellent source of vitamin C
– A good source of potassium (more than a banana!)
– A good source of vitamin B6
– Fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free
– Only 110 calories per serving
Potatoes and Potassium
One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium per serving and is considered one of the best foods with potassium. Skin- on potatoes rank highest for foods with potassium and are among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits. Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell. It helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells and in doing so, helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract.
Potassium is a powerful dietary factor that may help lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, few Americans are getting the recommended 4700 milligrams per day of potassium they need. (Potatoes make it easier!)
Are Potatoes Fattening?
No. A 5.3-ounce potato has only 100 calories and no fat. Experts agree weight gain occurs when an individual consumes more calories than he or she expends.
Are Fries and Chips Healthy?
Staple foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be eaten every day, while fried foods and high fat snacks should be viewed as occasional treats. One food, even one meal, does not make or break a healthful diet. Understanding the impact that fried foods, like fries and chips, or high-fat foods like ice cream and cookies, have on your overall eating pattern makes it possible for you to “make room” for them as occasional indulgences.
More information on potatoes can be found at the Potato Goodness website.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many parents struggle with their kids’ eating habits and obesity. What if more kids actually wanted to consume fruits and vegetables? A New York startup believes it will make that happen.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Vedge’ Kids, LLC Phase 1 of a 2 Phase $1.1 million grant to conduct research on the effectiveness of its produce-centric TV show and curriculum in the fight against childhood obesity. Childhood obesity continues to be a serious health concern in the U.S. Total societal costs are estimated at over 100 billion dollars annually.
The Vedge’ Kids show, which features animated fruits and vegetables as superheroes, aims to inspire and motivate children to eat healthy. The show is unique in that it is entertainment driven not preachy, flat or didactic.
“We’re extremely pleased to have worked with the USDA to reach this milestone,” said Rob Orchanian, President of Vedge’ Kids. “The individuals at the USDA are dedicated, professional and forward thinking. Their action confirms our proof of concept and our team’s dedication. Our goal is to improve the health of all our children by promoting the eating of fruits and veggies.
Our method has been to tear a page from the marketing book of junk food companies. Eating fruits and veggies is fun, exciting. They taste great too! We will make sure that little kids and their mommies know that and live that.”
Orchanian went on to say, “The Vedge’ Kids show is the cornerstone of a commercial enterprise. We firmly believe that the shows popular appeal will support a national TV broadcast. We expect this grant will be the 1st of a series of grants and investments that will move us firmly into profitability within the next 2 to 5 years.”
Research will be done in conjunction with the University of Maryland. The University has advised programs offered through Sesame Workshop and PBS.
Vedge’ Kids LLC, headquartered in the greater NYC metropolitan area, is also the publisher of several nutrition-focused children’s books. More information on the company can be found at www.vedgekids.com
by NatureFresh Farms
Leamington, ON – The heat of the summer is settling in across the Midwest though this has not deterred NatureFresh™ Farms’ mobile greenhouse tour from missing a beat. Already nearly 50 events completed since mid-April, consumers continue to flock to #GreenInTheCity events to learn more about how greenhouse vegetables are grown.
“The mobile greenhouse has not only been a conversation starter but a difference maker in how we connect with our customers”, said Ray Wowryk, Director of Business Development.
The mobile Greenhouse Education Center (GEC) is a 38’ custom-built unit that is an exact snapshot of how NatureFresh™ Farms grows its vegetables in state of the art high tech greenhouses in Leamington, ON & Delta, OH. Equipped with fruit bearing plants and complimented by a live Bumblebee Eco-System, the GEC serves as an education resource to inform consumers about how greenhouse vegetables are grown.
“We care about the future of fresh and all that it entails; we need to collectively increase fresh produce consumption. NatureFresh™ can help do that with the GEC and by getting front and center with consumers, we share our story to help inform them of the value of greenhouse vegetables. Knowing who grows what you buy is important, understanding how its grown is just as important if not more”, commented Wowryk.
Supporting the GEC this summer are 5 college students who serve as NatureFresh™ Brand Ambassadors at each event. The team is responsible for event day operations and interacting with retail partners to ensure their customers have the best possible experience. With varied backgrounds ranging from agri-business to environmental science to marketing to biology, the team provides unique perspectives of the value of greenhouse grown vegetables.
“We are able to immediately impact consumers purchasing decisions at store level with the knowledge we share about how we grow greenhouse vegetables”, said Cole Burkholder, GEC Team Member & 3rd year Environmental Science Major from Ohio State University. Agriculture is nothing new to Burkholder whose family operates a farming operation of more than 500 acres of row crops in central Ohio. “The look on people’s faces when we explain the greenhouse growing process and they see the live plants with real fruit, it’s priceless, you kind of see that ‘a-ha’ moment in their eyes. We’ve even had customers show us their shopping carts when leaving to show us the tomatoes or bell peppers they have purchased because of our conversation. It’s a pretty good feeling!” commented Burkholder.
Now in it’s 3rd year, the #GreenInTheCity Tour has completed more than 200 events to date across eastern North America connecting with consumers at retail stores, summer camps, schools, and community fairs. The 2017 tour will continue on through early November wrapping up at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON November 12th.
To learn more about NatureFresh™ Farms and the #GreenInTheCity Tour, visit naturefresh.ca/GEC.
About NatureFresh Farms –
NatureFresh Farms™ has grown to become one of the largest independent, vertically integrated greenhouse vegetable growers in North America. Growing in Leamington, ON and Delta, OH, NatureFresh™ Farms prides itself on exceptional flavor & quality. Family owned NatureFresh Farms™ ships Non-GMO greenhouse grown produce year-round to key retailers throughout North America.
by Michael Price, Science
The U.K. journalist Miles Kington quipped that knowledge is knowing tomatoes ares a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad. It wasn’t always this way. Decades of commercial growing have altered the tomato’s genetic makeup, turning it from a once-sweet fruit into today’s relatively tasteless sandwich topper. Now, a new study has uncovered which flavor-enhancing genes have been lost, giving growers a “roadmap” to breed tastiness back into their tomatoes.
“This is great work, which I believe could only be done by very few groups on Earth,” says Changbin Chen, a horticultural scientist at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, who wasn’t involved with the study. “This is doable for commercial growers who supply the fresh tomato market.”
Tomatoes are among the highest-value crops in the world. In the United States—the world’s second largest tomato grower behind China—they account for more than a billion dollars in sales annually. Nutritionally, they are important sources of vitamins A and C. But the large, plump, ruddy tomatoes available year-round in grocery stores taste much different than the small, multihued, berry-sized fruits that evolved more than 50 million years ago near Antarctica and were first domesticated in Central and South America some 2500 years ago. The fruits spread throughout the world following Spanish colonization in the 16th century. Over the next 400 years or so, hundreds of regional cultivars of tomatoes emerged, but they mostly stayed small, sweet, and flavorful.
Then, commercial agriculture exploded after World War II, and tomato crops were bred for higher yields, disease resistance, redder color, and firmness, explains Harry Klee, a horticultural scientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville and one of the study’s authors. These traits helped growers sell their crops for more money, but growers neglected genes responsible for taste, Klee says, and many of these were lost or tamped down over thousands of generations.
By Love Beets
BALA CYNWYD, PA – Love Beets – a pioneering line of premium, ready-to-eat beet products – is growing its product offering with 100% pure Beet Powder that’s an ideal item for health enthusiasts, fitness fanatics, or those just looking to incorporate more better-for-you ingredients in their diet.
Love Beets’ Beet Powder is made from 100% beets, contains no additives or preservatives, has 0g added sugar, and is non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. Beet powder delivers the nutritional benefits (and color!) of beets without any of the peeling, cooking, or juicing. It can be stirred directly into a cup of water, or added to smoothies, yogurt, sauces, baked goods, oatmeal, homemade pastas, and much more!
Beets have long been touted for their health benefits and the dietary nitrates found in beets convert to nitric oxide in the body, which can help promote heart health, healthy circulation, and stamina and endurance. For those who are looking for more pack in their punch, consuming just one tablespoon of Love Beets’ Beet Powder is the equivalent of eating three medium-sized beets.
Not only an innovative addition to their line, Love Beets’ Beet Powder is also a way to utilize the entire beet crop. Beets that are not in the ideal size range for their other products are dehydrated and then milled into the beet powder, resulting in overall less waste. The powder is made from U.S.-grown beets and is produced in the United States – another added benefit to consumers.
“We’re thrilled to launch another product that maintains our commitment to providing healthy and convenient items,” said George Shropshire, Vice President of Love Beets. “It’s also amazing that we’re able to do it in a way that’s making us even more efficient and economical. It’s a win/win for everyone.”
This new product reinforces Love Beets standing as the “beet experts” and in creating items that make beets convenient, easily approachable, and fun.
Love Beets’ Beet Powder can currently be found at Wegmans and on Love Beets’ online store.
About Love Beets
Launched in 2010, Love Beets specializes in a line of premium, all-natural, ready-to-eat beets that are sold in major retail food stores and specialty shops across North America. Products include marinated baby beets, vacuum-packed cooked beets, beet juices, beet powder, and many more products on the way!
Love Beets products use no artificial colors or preservatives, and almost all products are gluten-free. Select products are also USDA certified organic, verified Non-GMO and kosher-certified.
Since its launch, Love Beets has been defying preconceived notions of beets with an upbeat, fun, modern brand and tasty products that attract beet lovers and beet newbies alike!
by Honor Whiteman, Medical News Today
Fruits and vegetables are a pivotal part of a healthful diet, but their benefits are not limited to physical health. New research finds that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may improve psychological well-being in as little as 2 weeks.
Study leader Dr. Tamlin Conner, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues found that young adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day for 14 days ate more of the produce and experienced a boost in motivation and vitality.
The researchers recently reported their findings in the journal PLOS One.
One cup of fruits is the equivalent to half a grapefruit or a large orange, and one cup of vegetables is proportionate to one large red pepper or a large, baked sweet potato.
In recent years, studies have suggested that fruit and vegetable intake may also improve mental health. For their study, Dr. Conner and team set out to investigate this association further.
The researchers enrolled 171 students aged between 18 and 25 to their study, and they were divided into three groups for 2 weeks.
One group continued with their normal eating pattern, one group was personally handed two additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (including carrots, kiwi fruit, apples, and oranges) each day, while the remaining group was given prepaid produce vouchers and received text reminders to consume more fruits and vegetables.
At the beginning and end of the study, participants were subjected to psychological assessments that evaluated mood, vitality, motivation, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and other determinants of mental health and well-being.
The researchers found that participants who personally received extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 2 weeks, at 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being. In particular, these participants demonstrated improvements in vitality, motivation, and flourishing.
The other two groups showed no improvements in psychological well-being over the 2-week period.
by Full Tilt Marketing
Milwaukee, WI—Full Tilt Marketing asked 50 food bloggers to share their most popular fruit and vegetable posts for 2016 and the were gleaned for insights. The analysis found the key driving factors that made the recipes popular with consumers included; appearance, seasonality, flavor profiles and healthy substitutes.
In fact, 74% of the bloggers’ recipes included descriptive comments such beautiful, stunning, looks so good, and amazing. Melinda Goodman, Managing Partner at FullTilt Marketing commented, “It’s no surprise that appearance drove overall popularity of posts with likes, shares and comments highest on attractive images. We’ve always heard that a picture’s worth a thousand words and your image is your first impression.”
This visual likability drove millions of impressions, with over 20% of the posts generating 20,000 or more pins. One of the top recipe posts, Sweet Potato Round with Goat Cheese and Cranberries from Ciao Florentina, generated 189,000 shares and touched on a combination of winning factors including visual appeal, wow flavors, seasonal interest and healthy ingredients.
Cynthia Rusincovitch, blogger from My Nourished Home remarked, “The most popular recipe on my blog continues to be sautéed kale and this has been the case for two years.” Rusincovitch continued, “I find my audience, mostly moms of busy families, want healthier choices that are simple and taste great so they don’t need to fight with their kids to eat them, but they also want dishes that are inspired by what they are seeing in magazines and eating in restaurants.”
The more subtle and less than obvious results that didn’t address appearance were around content related to seasonality, health, a twist on the classics and global flavors…all ideas popular in current trends today.
Of the all blog posts analyzed, a third of the recipes highlighted a healthy twist on a traditional classic. In many cases centering on healthier substitutions with zucchini, cauliflower and spaghetti squash, or modifying a recipe to reduce sugar, make it gluten free or even paleo as the recipe anchor. Top recipes featuring healthier substitutions included Healthified Sweet Potato Casserole, Creamy Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Thyme Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic.
Several of the recipes replaced traditional staples with ingredients such as zucchini or spaghetti squash instead of pasta and cauliflower replacing risotto rice or potatoes. And as the pictures below prove, the new dishes look exactly like their pasta and potato counterparts.
The importance of seasonal ingredients in this review did not go unnoticed. 34% of the top recipes were presented as seasonal dishes and included an emphasis on rising ingredients such as those featured in Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade, Grilled Watermelon Margaritas, Autumn Root Vegetable Salad, Spring Brussel Sprout Salad and Summer Berry Fruit Salad with Lime Glaze to name just a few.
In closing, Heidi McIntyre, Managing Partner of FullTilt commented, “From drinks to desserts, breads, salads and side dishes the bloggers proved that what’s popular isn’t one type of food, preparation or trend, but an overall interest in utilizing more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthier diet.”
And if you’re wondering why it matters what food bloggers write about, you only need to consult the research on the power of purchase influence that bloggers wield. In a recent study from Research Now, 2/3 of all consumers read blogs weekly and nearly 9 in 10 consumers make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog. “Not only are blogs the new trusted media, they are also a key source of peer-to-peer word of mouth advertising that supports all steps of the purchase decision process from discovery to research to price comparison and sometimes direct purchase,” commented Goodman.
Full Tilt Marketing is a consulting firm with offices in the Southeast and Midwest. The firm specializes in produce and food marketing. Working with commodity boards and grower/shippers, Full Tilt assists clients with new product development, brand management, retail promotions, online marketing, social media and marketing communications.
by Jennifer Bond, USDA Economic Research Service
Chances are that if you order a side of fries at a restaurant, you need to specify whether you’re asking for white potatoes or sweet potatoes. Food trends that support the consumption of more healthful, colorful and unique foods have helped to encourage sales of sweet potatoes in the form of fries, chips, ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat preparations, expanding consumption of the orange tuber well beyond the holiday table.
Domestic consumption of sweet potatoes has grown considerably since 2000 with annual per capita availability (a proxy for consumption) rising from 4.2 pounds to reach a record-high 7.5 pounds in 2015. The marked rise in domestic demand has been encouraged by promotion of the health benefits of sweet potatoes – rich in vitamins A and C, high in fiber. Expanded demand has also been supported by the increasing variety of sweet potato products available in restaurants and for home preparation.
To meet rising demand, sweet potato production has increased substantially in recent years, achieving a record-high production of 3.1 billion pounds in 2015. The 2015 harvest was a high-water mark in a 15-year trend of expansion that began in 2000 when U.S. production was just 1.3 billion pounds. In 2014 and 2015, sweet potato production increased by an average of about six percent per year.
Beyond U.S. borders, consumers are increasingly enjoying sweet potatoes and, like North Carolina, several of the other key growing States enjoy access to southern ports that provide a locational advantage for meeting export demand. With expanded sales to markets that include Canada and the United Kingdom, aggregate U.S. exports have steadily risen in recent years in parallel with climbing domestic demand.
In 2015, U.S. sweet potato exports reached a record-high 409 million pounds and exports for 2016 are poised to reach approximately the same level. Both internationally and here in the U.S., sweet potatoes are increasingly becoming a colorful addition to holiday-and everyday-dining tables.