Sunday, December 25, 2011

Virgin Olive oil, Fish Fatty Acids Can Prevent Acute Pancreatitis

Researchers at the University of Granada Physiology Department have discovered that Oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol found in virgin olive oil and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish affect the cellular mechanisms involved in the development of acute pancreatitis. Including them in one's diet may prevent or mitigate the disease.

In the first study to examine how fatty acids and antioxidants affect the cellular mechanisms that respond to local inflammation in the pancreas, the University of Granada scientists evaluated the role of antioxidants from a preventive approach. In their experiments on mice, they induced cell damage after the mice had been fed the fatty acids and antioxidants.

"There is increasing evidence that there are oxidative-inflammatory processes involved in the origin of chronic diseases and that diet plays an important role in such processes,' said the study's author, María Belén López Millán.

María Belén López Millán.  University of Granada Physiology Department. Phone Number: +34 958241000 Ext. 2031

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Few Squares of Chocolate a Day Keeps the Coronary Away

Some "chocoholics" who just couldn't give up their favorite treat to comply with a study to test blood stickiness have inadvertently done their fellow chocolate lovers - and science - a big favor.

Their "offense," say researchers at Johns Hopkins led to what is believed to be the first biochemical analysis to explain why just a few squares of chocolate a day can almost halve the risk of heart attack death in some men and women by decreasing the tendency of platelets to clot in narrow blood vessels.

"What these chocolate 'offenders' taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack," says Diane Becker, M.P.H., Sc.D., a professor at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Continued in... A Few Squares of Chocolate a Day Keeps the Coronary Away

Farm Kitchen Guide: Chocolate

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

A new report based on an extensive 75 previous studies strongly suggests a link between low levels vitamin D and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin D comes from exposure to the sun. Twenty minutes of sun exposure daily is recommended.

Good food sources include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel as well as cod liver oil, milk and foods fortified with Vitamin D including some orange juices, breads and cereals.

Low levels of Vitamin D have previously been linked with weak and brittle bones.

Sources: Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eat Your Chocolate

Recent research suggests there are health benefits related to eating dark chocolate.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are high in natural antioxidants called flavonoids. Antioxidants have been linked to the prevention of diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

The greater the amount of cocoa there is in the chocolate, the higher the level of antioxidants.

"Because dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa than other types of chocolate, it is the healthiest option. Dark chocolate that contains at least 60 percent cocoa is best," says University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist Christeena Haynes.

According to a nine-year study by the American Heart Association, middle-aged and elderly Swedish women who ate about one to two servings of high-quality chocolate each week decreased their risk of heart failure by 32 percent, while those who consumed one to three servings each month decreased their risk by only 26 percent.

The high-quality chocolate the women were consuming in this study was comparable to the typical dark chocolate eaten in the United States.

"The study also showed that the women who ate one or more servings every day showed no reduced risk of heart failure, which is probably because they were replacing healthy foods in their diets with the high-calorie chocolate," said Haynes.

In other studies, primarily short-term, dark chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure. It has also been associated with decreased risk of blood clots, increased blood flow in the arteries and heart, and improved cognitive function in the elderly.

"Even with these possible health benefits, you still have to keep in mind that dark chocolate is high in calories, fat, and sugar, which can lead to weight gain," says Haynes. "It should be eaten in moderation, as a part of a well-balanced diet. Consuming dark chocolate will not make up for unhealthy eating habits."

According to Haynes, there is no definitive recommendation for a daily amount except that it should be a small amount, like one ounce. One ounce would be about the size of four Hershey's kisses.

"The biggest challenge is not eating the dark chocolate, it is stopping after just one ounce."

University of Missouri Extension
Christeena Haynes, (417) 345-7551

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Eating Healthy at a Barbecue

The main course is often burgers and hot dogs - maybe some sausages or barbecued chicken. Stay away from the hot dogs and sausages.

, a simple, small burger would be a diet-friendly choice. These days they may even have a few veggie burgers on the grill, an even healthier choice. If there's grilled chicken available, grab a breast, peel off the skin, and feel comfortable eating a piece about the size of the palm of your hand.

For a refreshing dessert, try to have some sort of fruit, be it a slice of melon or a colorful salad.
~ from When to Eat What by by Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo

Kitchen Supply: Outdoor Cooking
Recipe: Victory Chicken

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fish is Heart Healthy

Eating fish can reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by one-third, leading the American Heart Association to recommend a diet that includes at least three ounces of fish twice per week.

The heart healthiest fish are fatty fish that are high in omega three fatty acids according to Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension. That includes fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. Tuna has omega three fatty acids but not as much as the others listed.

"Some people shy away from fish because of possible contaminants such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and pesticide residues. There are warnings for
women of childbearing age and young children for shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish," said Roberts.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and an Institute of Medicine report have all concluded, however, that there is not enough evidence to recommend limitations on fish for most adults.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Peanut Skins High in Resveratrol

The skins of peanuts contain high levels of resveratrol, the bioactive compound associated with red wine and the “French paradox,” according to a University of Georgia food scientist. “Resveratrol is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and has anti-aging, -cancer and –inflammatory factors,” says Anna Resurreccion of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

After red wine, red grape juice and dark chocolate, roasted peanuts are one of the important sources of resveratrol. And when consumed with skins, they provide about three times more resveratrol compared to peanuts with the skins removed.

Nuts & Grains
Virginia Peanut Seeds

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bites: Chocolate is a Healthy Valentine

Those who receive chocolates on Valentine's Day should fall in love with the news that chocolate contains flavonoids and other compounds that have proven health benefits.

Flavonoids are naturally occurring compounds in plant-based foods that serve as antioxidants in the human body. Antioxidants protect bodies from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed in simple body processes and can increase with environmental contaminants.

For example, every cell in the human body needs oxygen to work. When the body cells burn oxygen, there is a by-product (a free radical) produced.  A free radical is an unstable molecule with a missing electron. It tries to ‘steal’ an electron from other body cells so it can become stable. This process of stealing from other body cells can lead to cell instability and can contribute to health problems such as cancer and heart disease.

The role of the antioxidant is that it provides the electron to the free radical so that it can be eliminated without causing damage.

A study conducted at the University of California found that persons who consumed 1.6 oz (about a regular sized candy bar) of flavonoid-rich chocolate every day for two weeks showed an expansion of the arteries and an increased blood flow of 10 percent.

Participants who consumed flavonoid-poor chocolate experienced a slight decrease. Increased blood flow means reduced cardiovascular risk.

Source: Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

Valentine's Day
Dark Belgian Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Golf Balls

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tangerine Tomatoes Surpass Reds in Lycopene

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study suggests that, ounce for ounce, the heirloom tangerine tomato is a better source of a powerful antioxidant called lycopene than more familiar red tomatoes.

The difference lies in the forms of lycopene that the two tomato types provide, according to chemist Betty J. Burri at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California. The trans-lycopene form, or isomer, makes up most of the lycopene in common red tomatoes. In contrast, most of the lycopene in tangerine tomatoes is tetra-cis-lycopene.

Results of the California investigation and one conducted by scientists in Ohio suggest that the tangerine tomato's tetra-cis-lycopene is more efficiently absorbed by the body than is the trans-lycopene of red tomatoes.

Source: Agricultural Research Service

Farm Produce
Plants and Seeds