Gluten Allergy Caused By What’s In Wheat, Not The Wheat Itself

Food allergies and food sensitivities are not the same thing. One can cause a very obvious and harmful reaction when exposed to a certain food, while the other causes less obvious internal issues that may actually compromise your digestive system and lead to other health issues not so easily connected.

The scientists at John Hopkins University started studying the genome makeup of common species of wheat that is used to make bread in this country and found some particularly fascinating information. Not only will the study of this genome help to better compile wheat that doesn’t have harmful levels of gluten in it, but it will also further the quest to make more sustainable, drought-resistant types of wheat that will help to end hunger in many parts of the world.

The Genome Factor

Scientists say that bread has an incredibly complex makeup – one of the most intricate and tedious compilations of genomes that exist in science. Over 16 billion DNA pairs and numerous chromosomes actually make up the strains of wheat that are then made into specific types of bread. That is vast and confusing in the grand scheme of grains, plants and their signifiers. This is so convoluted to some, that previously published versions of the genome derived from the wheat used in bread had huge gaps in its sequence given how intricate and in-depth the sequence is.

Due to the repetitive nature of the genome, it can be incredibly difficult to sequence it with any type of consistency and accuracy. What one of the scientists compared it to was putting together a very tiny jigsaw puzzle of a landscape scene when the majority of the puzzle is a gigantic blue sky. All the little blue pieces look almost identical in their similarity. In cases like these, it’s common to make a mistake. This is why the scientists at John Hopkins fashioned a sequencing type of technology that makes it a bit easier to group and study than it would be otherwise.

An assembly of the repetitive areas is also necessary in this way. In order to make these technologies, they used real-time, single molecule sequencing. When this information is thoroughly compiled and accurately assessed we’ll be able to better ascertain what makes wheat work and what some may react poorly to.

Improving Future Grains

When this is better understood, you can also start to compile information for super strains of wheat so that they can be grown in parts of the world that don’t have adequate access to food. When we adequately and completely understand the scientific framework of something, we can then deconstruct and reconstruct in several ways so that we can then use this information to better communities all over the world.

Imagine if there was wheat that didn’t cause those who consumed it to have poor internal reactions. Imagine if there was a strain of wheat that could be specifically modified to grow faster, in larger bundles, and be less susceptible to changes in the environment. When we truly understand the intricacies of the wheat genome and how to properly study it to improve future grains, entire regions and communities could potentially be better served.

A More Complete Way To Wash Pesticides From Fruits And Veggies

Even amongst the most suitable and healthy options there are for food, there are potential dangers that come with consuming fruits and vegetables consistently. Harmful pesticides can really damage your internal system and cause health issues down the line if they are readily ingested unbeknownst to you.

Despite your common produce-washing practices, you may not be fully cleaning all of the pesticides off of your produce. A simple and brief run under water isn’t sufficient. Researchers have recently found that washing fruits and vegetables with a common household item – baking soda – can substantially reduce residues that cling to the surface of the food.

The presence of pesticides amongst our produce that grows from trees, or on the ground, is ever present. The purpose from an economic standpoint for using pesticides is that it helps to increase the yield of a crop, thus getting the farmers more money per square inch. But these pesticides can be harmful and have shown to have negative health effects on human beings. In order to easily remove the residue from the outside of the produce a bit of baking soda and water will do the trick. Obviously, this suggestion is only relevant for items eaten with the skin on them, such as apples, potatoes, zucchini and celery.

Testing The Apples

In order to test the effectiveness of baking soda, the researchers used two common pesticides – phosmet and fungicide thiabendazole – and sprayed them on organic Gala apples. They then separated the apples into groups of three and tested each of the groups differently. The first group was washed with tap water, the second group a mixture of baking soda and water, and the last group was treated with a commercial bleach solution that is commonly used amongst farmers.

The groups of apples were soaked in their prospective solutions for at least 10 minutes. The baking soda and water mixture was shown to be the overall winner – leaps and bounds over the plain water method or the bleach method. It seems almost unbelievable that baking soda would actually be more effective in eradicating remnants of pesticides than a solution with bleach in it, however, that’s what the study found. Another great point: small amounts of baking soda are incredibly beneficial and safe for internal use, while bleach is not.

The Perfect Anecdote

It’s important for individuals to know that just eating processed or fast food isn’t the only risk. When we purchase fresh fruits and vegetables we may be improving our diets, but we can also be running the risk of ingesting harmful pesticides and chemicals that are virtually invisible and tasteless. This can have an unsavory and long-term negative effect on our health. While many health risks can be a result of eating those foods too readily, on the other end of the spectrum, the healthy options comprised of fruits and vegetables can also be potentially dangerous because of the poisonous chemicals that are readily sprayed onto them.

Baking soda is the perfect anecdote for the hard-to-get-rid-of residue that is harmful pesticides. We deserve the cleanest, most optimal fruits and vegetables in a farm-to-table scenario as we can get as a society. Going that extra step to ensure they’re properly cleaned is essential.

Green Tea Isn’t The Only Effective Tea For Weight Loss

So much has been said regarding the abilities of green tea to help individuals who are interested in losing weight and increasing their health. Aside from the common suggestions that include limiting caloric intake and being more active, there are several factors that may cause losing weight to actually be much more complicated than that. For those people who have health issues or overall compromised metabolisms, they can use a little help from natural entities to get their internal system aligned for optimum weight loss.

A group of researchers at UCLA found that there are components of black tea that can also be instrumental in the ways of helping to lose weight because of the way that the polyphenols are able to positively alter the bacteria of the gut. The way that this happens is that the components within black tea are able to shift and embolden the energy metabolism within the liver and therefore change the gut metabolites.

Black Tea Benefits

The study found that the ration of bacteria in the intestines is altered in the presence of both green and black tea – while this happens differently from green to black tea. The green tea’s polyphenols were absorbed and altered by the liver, while the black tea’s polyphenols are a bit too large to be properly absorbed by the small intestine. However, the gut bacterium and the manner in which the fatty acid chain is built alters the necessary metabolites which helps to promote weight loss. The results suggest that both green and black teas are prebiotic substances that induce the growth of good microorganisms that contribute to a person’s well being.

“It was known that green tea polyphenols are more effective and offer more health benefits than black tea polyphenols since green tea chemicals are absorbed into the blood and tissue,” says Susanne Henning, the lead author on the study and a professor at UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition. “Our findings suggest that black tea, through a specific mechanism in the gut microbiome, may also contribute to good health and weight loss in humans.”

Green And Black Tea Study

During the study, there were four different groups tested. Two groups did not have any tea extract while one had green tea extract and the other black tea extract. The mice were given this diet for four weeks and then their intestinal makeup was tested.

There were several different things that researchers were on the lookout for. One being any type of liver issues that may have been present in the diets with high fat content and how that may have been lacking in the presence of the teas as well. Results showed that only the mice that had the black tea as part of their diet where able to increase a specific gut bacteria called pseudobutyrivibrio, which is different than how the green tea positively affects the internal system.

For those who love black tea, this may be an even bigger incentive to keep the tea drinking habit going. Along with the common suggestions that have helped many to drop some pounds, helping your metabolism to react accordingly will undoubtedly be a key step in helping you along your weight loss journey. Black tea is also a great alternative to coffee as its caffeine quotient is a bit gentler on the body. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters and overall feelings of unease.

The Key To More Nutritious Crops

mixed selection of fruit and vegetables

Researchers are trying to figure out how the hundred tons of crops that are yielded on a daily basis can actually produce more nutritious produce. Whether it is from a specific soil or process, there is much interest to be had in how photosynthesis positively affects the type of crops that are produced for biofuels. A plant’s circulatory system is integral in the type of nutritional components that are infused into the food. When more nutrients are available, it improves the taste of the produce and the ability for it to positively impact human consumption.

Washington State University researchers started studying the correlation between the plant nutrients that were comprised via photosynthesis. The researchers found a unique and critical structure where the nutrients are offloaded, giving science a new focal point in efforts to improve plant efficiency and productivity.

“If you can increase the sink strength by five percent, and you get five percent  more product, you’d be looking at a multibillion-dollar market,” says professor of biological sciences at the WSU School of Biological Sciences, Michael Knoblauch. “What we eat is mostly fruits, roots and seeds, cereals and so on. And all this stuff is not at the place of photosynthesis. It’s at the place of unloading. So everything generated by photosynthesis is basically translocated to these so-called sinks. The unloading mechanism is a very important step because it determines how much a specific sink gets. So if we are able to modify the so-called sink strength, we can basically modify what fruit or root gets more.”

Batch Unloading

This can potentially have amazing effects in the ways of nutrition – an ongoing discovery for so many on the quest to improving their health and figuring out what types of vitamins and minerals they should be consuming on a regular basis. A recent analysis of a mustard plant showed how the growing roots and solutes could be transported and transmuted into neighboring cells.

While some molecules unload via a type of combined diffusion, others make their way through convection. Sugar must travel from a high concentration to low, via a process called plasmodesmata, which involves two pores connecting with cells close by. These pores provide the ability to have a specific flow resistance, which means they can release a necessary amount of discrete pulses which is referred to as “batch unloading.”

In order for these processes to make sense to researchers and scientists there must be an overarching understanding of the plant’s circulatory system, which more insights are beginning to make clearer as time goes on. It is a very intricate and elegant system. The more that is pulled the more that is then received. Knoblauch says: “If we are able to increase the sink strength of a specific sink of interest, then we can draw to this sink more nutrients of interest. If we want to make a tomato fruit a stronger sink by modifying phloem unloading – plant tissue that conducts metabolic products downwards from leaves – we draw more of the nutrients to the fruit and make more fruit product.”

The more this is readily researched, the more we can understand what’s required to shift how the produce that we consume grows to be even healthier and as nutritionally sound as possible. We can only benefit from this wealth of information.

Study: Diabetes Screenings And The Progress Made

Diabetes is a chronic condition that, if left untreated, can cause serious health complications and lead to greater risk of potentially fatal issues such as heart disease or stroke. Diabetes affects the way that the internal body processes sugar. Statistics gather that there are over 30 million adults that currently have diabetes and about 23 percent of cases that are actually undiagnosed. That is a staggering number considering the severity of the condition itself.

The number of sufferers who have been diagnosed has doubled in the last 25 years, which isn’t the type of health-improving news our society wants to hear. Despite the fact that the prevalence of diabetes is continuing to rise, there is good news in relation to proper screenings and diagnosis of the disease.

A recent study shows that the amount of cases of diabetes that are missed or diagnosed improperly has gone down from 16 percent to 10. This means that understanding the functions and symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes is becoming much more obvious to a wider range of medical practitioners. For those who haven’t had any routine health screenings in quite some time, or live in communities that have a preponderance of in-access when it comes to basic, fundamental health care options, the amount of cases that remain undiagnosed is staggering.

Diagnosis And Treatment

The study was conducted by researchers at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and they concluded that their findings are indicative of greater opportunities for treatment. “Understanding the proportion of diabetes causes that are actually undiagnosed, and who those patient groups are, is really critical to allocation of public health resources,” says Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D. and the lead professor on the study. “Our results suggest that targeted screening in these populations and increasing health coverage could help make sure that persons who have diabetes receive a diagnosis and get the appropriate treatment that they need.”

The study used two sets of data from periods 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2014, which included over 7,000 and 17,000 participants, respectively. The information was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. The researchers studied the diabetic threshold for further clarification on false positives regarding the undiagnosed population.

In order to inform the general public of the health concerns that diabetes can bring to sufferers’ lives, we must start to look at why certain foods are available in specific areas where those with a lower income and minority landscape are so affected. The influx of food that we are surrounded by as a culture is the top contributing factor to the onslaught of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Food is available to us in copious amounts and, because of how addictive many of these foods are made, people tend to have a fixation with and preoccupation with them. We’re not properly educated on food as we should be and for this reason many people continue to use food as a bandage or salve and have incredibly poor dietary habits as a result.

The fact that the occurrence of diabetes has grown to such numbers, and the main issue that brings about diabetes is an inability to process sugar, is no coincidence. Processed junk food is packed full of carbohydrates and sugar. Defeating the obesity and diabetes epidemic isn’t possible without educating larger society and giving everyone access to healthy options.

 

The World’s Food Waste And Hunger Problem

In a recent study, it was found that over a fifth of the world’s food production isn’t being used how it ought to be. In fact, nearly 20 percent of the food that is made available for consumption is either completely lost through waste or over-eating. The entire world’s population actually ingests nearly 10 percent more food than it actually needs while around nine percent is completely thrown away, discarded and never used. These are painful and embarrassing numbers when many places in the world see tens of thousands of people starve on a daily basis.

Slowly there are efforts being implemented that are attempting to reduce the billions of tons that are currently lost by increasing and strengthening food security. Part of this is to ensure that all individuals have access to an affordable, safe diet that is also nutritionally sound. Excess food waste can also pose a real threat toward the environment.

Lost To Over-Consumption

Researchers and scientists at the University of Edinburgh examined and studied the 10 stages of a global food system and some of their findings were downright eye-opening. What was incredibly jarring was the information that was gathered regarding the over-consumption that society is largely guilty of when it comes to food. Almost half of the harvested crops are lost to over-consumption. This is no wonder when obesity is becoming an epidemic in so many different parts of the world.

Many people in our society have access to food at an alarming rate. Simply the amount of fast food restaurants in any given city is emblematic of that. There’s also the case that economically, it is more difficult to eat well and not overeat when in a lower economic bracket. Cheap, supersized servings of tasty food that is horrendous for the body is sometimes all specific households can afford.

Waste, as well as inefficient food processes, is also a cause for concern when it comes to the amount of food that isn’t being allocated the way that it should be. There is also the fact that certain increased demand for foods like dairy or meat may decrease the manner in which these items can be efficiently attained – when meeting the demand will potentially compromise other facets of environmental safety such as the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, and decreasing water supplies. The researchers surmised that encouraging consumers to eat less meat and dairy would help this particular issue.

Getting Smart

Another issue is restaurants and well-off households that throw away copious amounts of perfectly good food on a weekly basis. Many eateries are mandated to throw away leftover food each day after closing because they are legally unable to sell it the next day. Households allow food to go to complete waste and rot, instead of proactively freezing the food in order to sustain it. This is food that could benefit homeless shelters and the needy all over the country and world.

We need to really get smart about how we consume food and how much we consume. We also need to do better distributing and allocating nutritiously-sound food to those who don’t readily have proper access to it.

Lower Heart Disease Risks With Nut Consumption

Nuts and seeds can sometimes be an acquired taste. Some people don’t understand exactly what types of nuts should be included in a healthy diet as all nuts aren’t created equal. Some nuts have more of a particular component or element within them than others. A recent study found that those who regularly include nuts in their diets – specifically walnuts, tree nuts and peanuts – were at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or coronary heart disease as opposed to those who don’t typically include any nuts in their diets.

A major reason these types of nuts are so beneficial is due to their healthy fat content. For a long time it was thought that fat was the enemy, but after a lot of research and additional studies, it has become clear that there are many types of positive and healthy fats that should be incorporated into a balanced diet. These particular nuts are so helpful because they have a specific type of fatty acid within them that helps to coat and aid the heart – and helps mitigate the risk of heart disease.

The Consumption Correlation

The study found that there was an inverse correlation between nut consumption and the presence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Participants who consumed walnuts on a regular basis had an almost 19% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Similar numbers can be seen of both tree nuts and peanuts. “Our findings support recommendations of increasing the intake of a variety of nuts, as part of healthy dietary patterns, to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the general populations,” says lead author of the study Marta Guasch-Ferre.

Another researcher, Emilio Ros, added commentary regarding the necessary presence of nuts and the need for even more research: “Ideally, further investigations should test the effects of long-term consumption of nuts supplemented into the usual diet on hard cardio-metabolic events. In the meantime, raw nuts, if possible unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, may be considered as natural health capsules that can be easily incorporated into any heart-protective diet to further cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging.”

Heart-Health Benefits

Largely where we go wrong with our diets, and subsequently our health, is that too many processed items are consumed. The combination of fat and carbs are typically what makes many foods so addicting and satisfying to so many people. The great thing about nuts is that, within necessary parameters, they can provide the type of fat that is tasty and filling, but also provide you with necessary heart-health benefits. Heart disease is absolutely insidious and we should do everything that can be done to study this condition and learn which nutritional choices we should be making.

While nuts are an acquired taste for some, they can be great on salads or as part of fun trail mix. Do be mindful that many nut allergies have developed in recent years and, unfortunately, some people just can’t have nuts as their bodies react poorly to them. Anyone can be allergic to anything, yet the increase in nut allergies seems to be growing at a rapid rate.

The Amazing Benefits Of Persimmon Seed Oil

The persimmon fruit is considered one of the most exotic in the world, and with a sweet, tasty flavor, many people who get their hands on them claim they are both delicious and nutritious. This is true for a myriad of reasons, but what some people don’t recognize is that the seeds themselves, within the fruity flesh, are actually an amazing antidote for specific external issues.

It is advised that the seeds of the persimmon not be ingested, but the oil that is derived from these seeds has nutritional power and value that can’t be overlooked. Here’s some of the key benefits associated with this impressive oil.

Anti-Aging Properties

There are so many people who are constantly on a never-ending quest to figure out how to keep or regain their youthful appearance. The state of your skin is no joke and when those laugh lines, crow’s feet or sagging skin start to make their way onto your face, many people don’t know how to handle it.

While the skincare industry and many well-known companies would have you shelling out ridiculous amounts of money for some top-of-the-line face creams, you actually only need some specific oils to restore your skin’s natural glow.

Persimmon seed oil helps to revitalize the cells in your skin while also killing off free radicals. It also has incredibly high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A which do an amazing job of restoring youthful looking skin.

Digestive Aid

We have all been there. We’ve either eaten a little bit too much at the county fair or gone overboard at the movies with candy and popcorn, but when you have tummy troubles, more often than not, it’s because your digestive tract is backed up and not working effectively. This can lead to cramping, indigestion, constipation and a whole host of other gut issues.

Persimmon oil helps to aid the natural digestive juices from the outside in. All you’ll need to do is mix some persimmon seed oil with some coconut or jojoba oil and rub it into your lower and upper belly after you’ve eaten a big meal and you’ll be pleased to see the difference in 10 or 15 minutes time.

Blood Circulation

This oil has been known to lower blood pressure, and along with that perk, it can also help to revitalize new blood cells. Try putting a drop or two behind your ear or on your wrist and the oil will permeate your skin and eventually reach your internal organs that need this little boost.

Due to the essential nutrients that are intrinsic within this oil it helps to increase the amount of hemoglobin in the blood which aids in the way the blood is flowing. When the necessary amount of red blood cells are present it helps to encourage and define cognitive functions, metabolism, energy levels and cellular growth. A very important oil to have around for your overall health, you can even use persimmon in an oil warmer or diffuser to obtain the benefits.

You can purchase persimmon seed oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

Proper Food Storage Prevents Tons Of Food Waste

March is National Nutrition Month which means several establishments and entities will provide information on how to live a nutritionally sound and fruitful life. In an attempt to lower our grocery bill and better allocate the amount of food that goes into our homes every month, there is an initiative to “Go Further With Food.” This essentially deals with being less wasteful and getting more actual use from the food you buy without it going bad from non-use or being stored improperly.

This country wastes an inordinate amount of perfectly good food on a daily basis. Up to 31 percent of food is wasted on a yearly basis with almost 28 percent of produce thrown out. This is something that we should feel ashamed of especially when there are so many that could benefit from access to free food.

Eat What You Have

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Melissa Majumdar says: “Far too often, good food goes bad before we get the chance to eat it. Before going to the grocery store, check inside your refrigerator. Eat what you already have at home before buying more. To reduce waste, also date all frozen items and use the oldest food first.”

Sometimes the issue comes down to what we feel like eating and what seems appetizing to us. Dining out or ordering in can seem like a much better, more mouth-watering option. But this essentially guarantees you wasting money erroneously if you happen to have a fully stocked refrigerator.

Produce becomes less fresh every day that it sits waiting to be used. Leftover meals that can continue to feed you or your family one or two more times only have about a three-to-five-day shelf life before they start to go bad.

Have A Meal Plan

One way that you can ensure you are wasting as little food as possible is to stick to a meal plan. Make a few dishes and seal them in airtight, glass containers so that they will be good for a large portion of the week. Always use glass containers because they are much safer to have contact with your food than plastic. They are also largely made with airtight lids which help the food to stay fresher longer.

It’s also a good idea to freeze at least half or a fourth of any meal you cook. This ensures that it can be used much later after it thaws. These tips will help allow you to get the full amount of use out of the items you purchase. Also, always go grocery shopping after you’ve eaten. Never go on an empty stomach because you’re much more likely to go over your budget.

Being wasteful is something that we, as a society, can and should prevent. Food shouldn’t be thrown out as it doesn’t help anyone. We need to be steadfast and dedicated to not only saving money for ourselves but also not creating unnecessary waste that could have easily gone into the stomachs of starving individuals.

Even Properly Cooked Pork May Carry Traces Of Salmonella And Listeria

One of the first things you learn about cooking meat is to ensure it is cooked thoroughly. With certain types of meat, the variances in how well it’s cooked can depend on the person who is eating it. But there are some forms of meat that need to be cooked thoroughly and well done every single time. This is in order to prevent the spread of bacteria that can be incredibly harmful to your body. If you or someone you know eats leftover pork chops, that were not originally cooked until well done, you’ll want to keep reading.

A recent study showed that cooking pork at an acceptable temperature does not eliminate pathogens completely. This means that when the meat is stored, the pathogens that have not been properly killed, can multiply and potentially become hazardous to consumers.

Listeria And Salmonella

The study found that only pork chops that have been cooked until they are well done in a static oven completely kill off pathogens such as Listeria and salmonella. Although cooking pork at other levels, such as medium or rare, does satisfy certain requirements of the meats temperature, once it was tested again, a few surviving cells were found that can then easily multiply while meat is stored.

Even if there is a good amount of information available regarding how to cook meat and for how long, certain types of dishes can slip through the cracks, even with how notable and understood salmonella is. In 2014 alone, more than 57 percent outbreaks took place in the kitchen, with 13 percent coming from the inadequate heat treatment of meat.

The study, which was conducted in Bologna, Italy, took and tested over 150 packs of loin chop. The samples were contaminated with cells of both Listeria and salmonella, in order to access how much of the pathogens were eliminated during the cooking process.

Meat was divided into groups and cooked at varying temperatures. The only cooking variation that was able to completely kill and eliminate the bacteria was well done in the oven. There were differences within and related to the levels of cooking and cooking procedure.

Pork Preparation

A lead professor at the University of Bologna, Alessandra De Cesare, Ph.D., states: “The results of this study can be combined with dose response models and included in guidelines for consumers on practices to be followed to manage cooking of pork meat at home.” It’s important to understand that not all meat is created equal in that they aren’t all susceptible to the same bacteria and levels of exposure depending on the type of animal it comes from.

Fish and beef act very differently than pork and chicken do when they aren’t cooked well done. With so many food fads – and people experimenting with the way they cook – it’s imperative to realize that not all food can be consumed, or should be consumed, when cooked in varying manners. A good example of this is international travel and how some cooked delicacies are completely fine for those whose stomachs are used to that type of preparation. For those who are not, becoming sick is often the result.

Beverage Industries Must Focus On Taste and Health – Dairy And Otherwise

Recently, the dairy industry has experienced quite the shift in the amount of milk that they sell per capita. The realization is that many more households are drinking less milk than they did in previous years. There could be a long list of explanations that explain this fact.

Milk, and dairy in general, has been largely thought to be unhealthy and many even react badly to it when they consume it. Between 2011 and 2014, there was an almost four percent decrease in the amount of milk sold, but comparatively, there was an increase of almost 30 percent in plant-based beverages sold between 2010 and 2015. This means that more people are becoming incredibly health conscious and pay attention to what they put into their bodies.

Fat And Sugar

Many consumers that were researched did not have any specific diet restrictions nor did they claim to be lactose intolerant. The level of fat within the diary product is the most important point to consumers, while sugar is the most imperative for the nondairy beverages. Over 70 percent of the dairy milk that was sold in 2014 was that of fat-free milk. So it stands to reason that the taste of such selections would actually cause the amount of milk that is purchased in subsequent grocery visits to go down.

The most common substitute for diary milk is almond milk. “We found that consumers choose milk based on habit or because they like the flavor,” explains lead author on the study Kara McCarthy. “Milk that is appealing in flavor could convince nondairy beverage drinkers to consume more diary milk; likewise, lactose-free milk or milk from grass-fed cows might also be more appealing.”

Taste And Health Benefits

She brings up a good point here as the dairy isn’t always the conflicting issue. Sometimes the cows are fed so poorly that the milk becomes almost impossible to digest. When the milk becomes impossible to digest, then that becomes an issue of the consumer believing that they are simply allergic to milk when that isn’t actually the case.

If the taste as well as the internal reaction of milk that comes from grass-fed cows was altered, it stands to reason that the amount of milk that would then be sold would increase. The amount of understood health benefits and taste are the foremost deciding factors that consumers take into consideration when buying beverages overall.

Health benefits become more obvious if the body has an overtly negative reaction to ingesting a certain product. But the health benefits of something that is high in sugar are actually nonexistent so this can be deceptive simply because it tastes good. Taste and health are not mutually exclusive. If that was the case, we would be talking about how soda is healthy when there have been countless studies that it is not, regardless of how good it tastes.

Working through the variables and what influences the pocketbooks and spending habits of consumers when they are doing their weekly grocery shopping comes down to what works best in their bodies and what is pleasing to their taste buds.

Cognitive Benefits Of Dark Chocolate And Cocoa

While sweet treats often get a bad rap, typically because of the overwhelming sugar content within, there is some specific benefits that can be obtained when you include dark chocolate and natural cocoa into your diet. While some may argue that having a daily chocolate habit can’t be a good thing, it is as long as the amounts of chocolate consumed aren’t too big and the sugar content isn’t too much. It’s important to note that the options with less sugar are preferred. You can get unsweetened cocoa powder and naturally rich dark chocolate in your grocer’s candy and baking aisle.

A recent study found that overall cognitive function was improved after the daily intake of cocoa flavanols. Researchers have been trying to ascertain what type of acute effect the cocoa flavanols may have on specific cognitive experiences and processes. Italian researchers sought to find out what happens to the brain only a couple of hours after cocoa flavanols are consumed. They also considered what type of cognitive improvements could be measured from daily consumption.

The Trial

A randomized and controlled trial was launched to investigate the improvement of cognitive functions in the face of these cocoa flavanols. Those participants that consumed these flavanols on a continual basis showed noticeable enhancements in their working memory performance as well as increased processing of visual information. For many women, it was found that eating a piece of dark chocolate or consuming hot cocoa after a night of sleep deprivation can counteract the cognitive impairment that occurs. Cognitive impairment in such situations usually looks like less accuracy when performing tasks that require premium focus.

It does need to be mentioned that these findings are more noticeable in those who are in their mid life or older. For individuals who are considered young and healthy, the high demand in cognitive testing is necessary to ascertain specific behavioral changes. For those who are older and who consume these cocoa flavanols on a consistent basis, their overall cognitive framework and cognitive abilities take a notable and impressive uptick. Things like verbal fluency, attention to detail, processing speed and working memory are tremendously improved.

The Factors

The reason that these factors are likely more noticeable in older individuals is because of the normal memory decline that tends to happen at a certain age. This is also true of individuals that have suffered from some type of cognitive impairment that occurred as a result of a minor injury that may have resulted in a concussion.

Michele Ferrara and Valentina Socci from the University of L’Aquila in Italy explain: “This result suggests the potential of cocoa flavanols to protect cognition in vulnerable populations over time by improving cognitive performance. If you look at the underlying mechanism, the cocoa flavanols have beneficial effects for cardiovascular health and can increase cerebral blood volume in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus.”

It can be difficult for some to make dark chocolate or cocoa a consistent part of their dietary patterns because of other aspects of the food that is linked to caloric value, caffeine content, milk content and sugar amounts. So with these specific factors in mind, sometimes consistent consumption of chocolate is a bit harder to navigate. But the darker the chocolate the better it is for you and potential brain power.

Modeling Good Eating Behavior Will Positively Influence Your Children

Modeling healthy eating habits can be the difference between dealing with picky eaters and having well-adjusted, easy eaters on your hands. It’s common for children, especially when they are babies, to make faces or to be unsure of new foods that are introduced to them. Whether it’s a taste, texture or downright unfamiliarity, a baby or toddler’s reaction to new foods is going to run the gamut.

Kansas State University professor Richard Rosenkranz, who specializes in food, nutrition, dietetics and health, says that children actually get used to the presence of vegetables in the womb. This means that if pregnant women incorporate vegetables such as kale or Brussel’s sprouts into their dietary makeup when they are pregnant, when it’s time for their baby to begin eating pureed foods, they’ll be more apt to tolerate them.

Moms can influence what their babies are more susceptible to eat from the very beginning, even before they are brought into the world. Rosenkranz says that even when the baby is a mere embryo it is constantly obtaining information from the world outside of the womb. The foods that it is exposed to in utero are painting that elaborate framework when it comes to their malleable pallets as time goes on.

Mindful Of The Veggies

Once the little ones are here, it’s important to model specific behaviors for them. At as young as six months, babies are aware of what their parents eat. If they see someone that cares for them eating a bitter vegetable, they will be more apt to eat it as well. At a very young age they can detect when certain eating behaviors are normal or not.

“We’re being watched by our kids from very young ages,” says Rosenkranz. “Babies start to think, ‘Why does he keep putting this stuff in front of me, but he never eats it?’” He suggests that parents be very mindful of the veggies that they consume and to do it in front of their child as often as possible.

The professor thinks that starting with the sweet vegetables is the best option as human beings of all ages tend to react more favorably to sweeter tastes than bitter. Corn or carrots is a good place to start. In order to develop motor skills, parents are encouraged to chop up little bite-sized pieces of carrots for them to pick up and little pieces of corn they can eat kernel by kernel. “If you cut fresh vegetables into fun shapes or use grape tomatoes for eyes, suddenly the kids are taking something healthy they never would have eaten and actually enjoying it,” Rosenkranz added.

It’s also incredibly helpful to incorporate your children into the food preparation and cooking processes in the kitchen as early as kindergarten so you can help them understand the importance of healthy choices.

Red Onions Are Impressive Cancer Fighters

Ontario-grown red onions are creating quite the buzz as they’ve been tested and shown to have an impressive ability to kill off cancer cells of the breast and colon variety. Much more so than any other type of onions, red onions are naturally packed with antioxidants and these are some of the most important cancer fighting aids there are. The high levels of anthocyanin and quercetin that are specific to red onions are what make these types of onions so effective against cancer cells.

An engineering professor and a Ph.D. student made red onions their latest subject as they understood that not all onions were created equal. But they wanted to know why exactly that is – which ones are the best and what type of qualities some onions have that others don’t. Though many super foods are widely and extensively studied, the onion variations aren’t and a lot isn’t really understood about them and their different types.

Understanding Anthocyanin

The anthocyanin found in the red onion has a very specific function when it comes to combating and killing cancer cells. It helps to enrich the scavenging properties of the quercetin molecules which means that the two actually work in conjunction with one another.

Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing color to fruits and vegetables so it makes sense that the red onions, which are darkest in color, would have the most cancer-fighting power. Onions as a whole activate entire pathways that cause cancer cells to give up and undergo what is referred to as “cell death.”

This is because they help craft and cultivate a specific environment in the body that isn’t favorable or conducive to cancerous cells. If we could find a way to essentially convince cancer cells to die immediately upon them being formed, the occurrences of cancer would decline tremendously. The disruption between cancerous cells helps to mitigate and eliminate the growth of such cells.

Onion Extracts

While it’s relatively easy to include this food in salads or on the top of burgers, there is much talk in certain research circles about the need for the extracts of the onion to be made available for even greater use and consumption. Similarly to how certain vegetables can be consumed in cold-pressed juice form, the oils and juices of red onions should also be available in these ways. The only thing that can potentially make this harder is that the flavor of a red onion can easily be overpowering if it exists in excess.

The thought of consuming onion juice doesn’t sound very appetizing to most people. However, there is a surefire way to circumvent the taste issue – the remnants of the onion being made available in solid pill form. Whether in capsule or in liquid vitamin form, the presence of this food transformed for easier consumption could really change the way that we talk about specific cancers, namely colon and breast cancer.

The ability of so many different foods to have natural benefits that could have any type of real bearing on improving our health and wellness is something that should continually be looked into. Instead of corporations and drug companies receiving a kickback for all the medications they peddle, so much of what could be beneficial to the body can be found in nature.

What Is False Flax Oil?

A bit different than the traditional flaxseed oil you’ve likely heard about and may even take, false flax is also known as camelina sativa or wild flax and has been an oil-bearing entity for thousands of years. One of the reasons that it is so healthy and sustainable as an oil is because it has a very high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are tremendously healthy for the body. Within each dosage it contains as much as 45% of the necessary omega-3 fatty acids. This is pretty incredible. This oil can be taken as an everyday supplement as your personal daily dosage of omega-3 fatty acids or it can be used in a whole host of other ways. Here are some suggestions.

Great For The Skin

Because of the vitamin E properties, as well as the fatty acids, this is a great way to moisturize and protect the skin from those pesky free radicals in the environment. This is a very light oil so you don’t have to worry about it becoming greasy or too thick when you use it. In fact, this is the perfect oil to use as a light protective, hydrating coating on the skin. If you are someone who suffers from oily skin on a notorious basis, it’s important that you don’t shy away from properly moisturizing your skin. The presence or overproduction of oil is often because your skin is actually under moisturized and not hydrated.

Heals The Scalp

Your scalp can be a very tricky entity that gives way to the health and luster of your hair. Bad hair days are tough on everyone and, unfortunately, no one is exempt. False flax oil can be used on the scalp as a hot oil massage, much like many other variations of oil. But because of the healing properties intrinsically within the oil, it can help to eliminate itchy, dry scalp that often leads to dandruff. Not only will it do wonders for your hair but the antioxidants within the oil do a tremendous job of protecting the hair shaft itself. So if you are suffering from hair that is hard to manage or perpetually dry, try a few drops of this oil as a part of your hair care regimen.

Heart Health

The great thing about this oil is that it’s naturally food grade and can be consumed. It is known to lower triglyceride levels, which is important in maintaining your healthy amounts of cholesterol and lowering the bad cholesterol in your body. This is tied to cardiovascular health and is a very critical part of your overall health. When your triglyceride levels are lowered, it prevents many health incidences such as heart disease.

Arthritis

Because this oil has properties that are naturally anti-inflammatory, it would be a great antidote for the joint pain and tightness that you experience. Not only can it be used topically to reduce the discomfort and pain of arthritis but when it is ingested, the high amounts of omega 3 also help with the inflammation you likely experience.

You can purchase false flax oil online from several companies at amazon.com.