Archive For The “Health” Category
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.
by Fresh Solutions Network, LLC
San Francisco, CA – Fresh Solutions Network applauded the March 23rd episode of Dr. Oz – giving American’s “Permission to eat potatoes again” noting that potatoes are “nutrient power houses” that surprisingly pack about “100 calories per spud” and have zero grams of fat.
Dr. Oz opened his show handing potatoes out to the audience, correcting the misconceptions of “Tater Haters” with nutritional facts on America’s favorite side dish.
The low-carb diet craze damaged the reputation of the potato by creating the misconception that potatoes were “fattening” and unhealthy. As Dr. Oz and other notable experts in the medical and scientific community have clarified, potatoes have a number of nutritional benefits that may surprise consumers. In addition to being fat free, gluten-free, sodium free and low-calorie – potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, have more potassium than a banana or broccoli and are vegan and non-GMO.
“We are excited that consumers are finally hearing the great news about potatoes that those of us in the industry have known for a long time,” said Kathleen Triou, President and CEO of Fresh Solutions Network, “Products like Side Delights® fresh potatoes are a natural, healthy, family favorite side dish, and we expect to see an increase in purchasing habits as the medical community and consumer media help restore the reputation of the potato.”
The syndicated series is set to air its 10th season in 2018/2019. Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the show since its premier has called the show a “field guide in helping viewers navigate their path to wellness.”
About Fresh Solutions Network, LLC:
Fresh Solutions Network is a group of family owned growers and shippers who choose to work together to make the potato and onion industry better for everyone. FSN helps fresh potato and onion buyers grow their categories, maximize category investment, and increase sales. FSN delivers category insights, collaborative innovation and customized assortment. Fresh Solutions Network, LLC partners are: Sterman Masser, Inc. (Masser Potato Farms and Keystone Potato Products in Sacramento and Hegins, PA), Michael Family Farms, Inc. (Urbana, OH), Basin Gold Cooperative, Inc. (Pasco, WA), Green Thumb Farms, Inc. (Fryeburg, ME), Red Isle Potato Growers, Ltd. (Prince Edward Island, Canada), NoKota Packers, Inc. (Buxton, ND), Sun-Glo of Idaho, Inc. (Sugar City, ID) and Mack Farms (Lake Wales, FL).
by U.S. Apple Association
Falls Church, VA – Beyond everyday convenience and the wide range of varieties and apple products to choose from, apples also pack a nutritious punch, providing a daily dose of health benefits.
“National Nutrition Month, celebrated in March, is a good time to remind consumers that apples are a super food found in stores across the country,” said Korenna Wilson, Director of Consumer Health and Media Relations for USApple. “We continue to see studies that confirm the link between apple consumption and good health. This is a roundup of our favorites.”
The U.S. Apple Association offers 12 proven ways apples and apple products positively impact health, from head to toe, from the inside out, and through every stage of life:
- Lower LDL Cholesterol
Studies by the Arthritis Foundation found evidence to support claims that eating apples on a daily basis may lower levels of cholesterol as well as C-reactive protein (CRP), a key marker of inflammation in the blood. Female participants who ate apples every day for six months saw lower LDL cholesterol levels by 23 percent as well as a 32 percent decrease in CRP (Arthritis Foundation, 2016).
- Improve Digestive Health
University of Denmark researchers discovered apples and apple products could boost intestinal health by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria. The friendly bacteria in the intestines feed on pectin, a fiber found abundantly in apples (BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:13).
- Replace Daily Statin Use
Some cardiologists argue that statins do more harm than good, especially for those who do not already have heart disease. Instead, people would benefit from eating an apple a day to prevent heart attacks, strokes and other vascular diseases (BMC Medicine, 2016 14:4).
- Support Respiratory Health
A National Institutes of Health study reports that foods rich in fiber and flavonoids, found abundantly in apples, may reduce chronic productive cough and other respiratory symptoms (Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med, 2004, 170: 279-287).
- Promote Heart Health
An Ohio State University study found that eating an apple a day for four weeks lowered blood levels of oxidized LDL, the bad cholesterol, by 40 percent. A University of Florida study found eating two apples a day reduced LDL by 23 percent (Journal of Functional Foods, 2013).
- Strengthen Bone Health
A study published in the November 2010 online edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that older women who eat plenty of fruits, including apples and apple products, along with vegetables and whole grains, may have a lower chance of bone fractures than those not getting their fill.
- Deliver a Dose of Vitamin C
Apples are a great source of vitamin C, which helps repair body tissue and provides antioxidants. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a large apple contains about 10.3mg of vitamin C, nearly 10 percent of the daily recommended dose.
- Protect Brain Cells
Research from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell suggests eating apples and drinking apple juice can be beneficial when it comes to improving brain health and diminishing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. With a balanced diet, apple and apple juice consumption may protect against oxidative brain damage that can lead to memory loss.
- Strengthen Muscles
A natural compound found in the apple’s skin, called ursolic acid, may help prevent muscle wasting that can result from aging and illness (Cell Metabolism, 2011, 13 (6): 627-638).
- Reduce Asthma Symptoms
Research from the United Kingdom reports children of mothers who eat apples during pregnancy are much less likely to exhibit symptoms of asthma at age five. Apples were the only food found to have a positive association with a reduced risk of asthma among a variety of foods consumed and recorded (American Thoracic Society, 2007).
- Lowers Risk of Certain Types of Cancer, including Breast, Pancreatic, Colon or Liver, Prostate and Colorectal
Apples are rich in antioxidants, especially quercetin, which have been identified to help inhibit cancer onset and cell proliferation. In one study, the more apples per day a person ate, the less likely he/she was to develop colorectal cancer. The anti-cancer effect was seen even when a person had a low total consumption of fruits and vegetables, but consumed at least an apple a day (European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2010, 19(1):42-47).
- Help Maintain Optimal Weight
State University of Rio de Janeiro researchers studying the impact of fruit intake on weight loss found that overweight women who ate the equivalent of three apples a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t eat the fiber-rich fruit (Nutrition, 2003, 19: 253-256). Furthermore, researchers at Harvard University found a higher intake of foods rich in flavonols, flavan-3-ols, anthocyanins and flavonoids, all of which are found in apples, was associated with less weight gain among adults and may contribute to the prevention of obesity.
For more information on the health benefits of apples and apple products vist, USApple.org.
By Frieda’s Inc.
LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Food trendsetters and health experts continue to sing the praises of fermented foods such as Kimchi, Korean refrigerated pickled vegetables.
Consumer Reports, Thrillist, and Food Network’s Healthy Eats blog are among many trends lists that called out fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha (fermented tea), and kefir (yogurt-like drink) as this year’s hot items.
As more research reveals the correlation between good digestive health and overall wellness, dietitians and other health professionals continue to recommend adding fermented foods like kimchi to one’s diet for a healthy dose of probiotics.
“More shoppers are looking to eat better and are getting their recommendations from retail dietitians. We are definitely seeing that in our sales over the past few years,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Frieda’s Specialty Produce.
Frieda’s offers Nice & Mild “funky fresh” kimchi, Hot & Spicy kimchi that’s “fire in the bowl,” and “fiery and delish” Extra Hot kimchi—all with “friendly fermentation!”
“Kimchi is popular with the health and wellness set, as well as foodies everywhere,” said Caplan. “You can find recipes and pictures of kimchi in just about everything from Korean-inspired tacos and burgers to a Bloody Mary. Even the Idaho Potato Commission’s recent recipe contest winner is a kimchi potato recipe!”
Caplan also added, “The upcoming Chinese New Year promotion is a great opportunity to showcase this versatile fermented food along with other Asian vegetables.”
About Frieda’s Inc.
Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families, and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and Friedas.com.