Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When Frozen Beats Fresh

A University of Georgia study of Americans' groceries has discovered that fresh isn't always best — at least not in terms of delivering vitamins and minerals. Led by Ronald Pegg, associate professor of food science and technology, researchers studied the vitamin and mineral content of eight fruits and vegetables — blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, green beans, corn, spinach, cauliflower and green peas. They analyzed the nutrient values of the produce on the day they were purchased and after the produce had been stored in a household refrigerator for five days. They also analyzed the nutritional content of the same set of fruits and vegetables that had been packaged after freezing.

"The vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables degrade over time, and we found that frozen fruits and vegetables may offer more nutrition than fresh, when storage is taken into account," Pegg said. "(Fruits and vegetables) are going to have a different nutrient profile after storage than they had when they were taken from the field ... (These pieces of produce) are living things. They respire; they age and they break down over time. There are oxidative stresses, microbial stresses and enzymatic stresses, and we end up seeing the loss of nutrient value from these stresses."

Pegg's study showed that some frozen fruits and vegetables had higher levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and of folates than fruits and vegetables that had been stored for five days.

Shoppers tend to consume some of their produce on the day the purchase it from the grocery store and store the rest in the refrigerator for later use. The researchers looked at nutrient levels of the fruits and vegetables after storage to get a better picture of the nutrition that American shoppers are getting from their produce.

"This particular study was designed from the point of view of the consumer, and it's one of the first to take into account the way people buy and store produce," Pegg said.

Since many shoppers only buy produce on a weekly or biweekly basis, frozen produce may be a more effective way to get the nutrients and vitamins available in fruits and vegetables.

"Freezing is nature's pause button. It helps maintain the nutritional value of fresh vegetables, even during storage."

Frozen vegetables are able to maintain more of their nutritional value because they are blanched shortly after being taken from farmers' fields. This stops the enzymatic reactions that can break down many nutrients. Freezing also slows the enzymatic breakdown of fruits, which are not blanched, and decreases microbial break down.

Sources: Ronald Pegg
UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Artwork: 4 Basic Food Groups Poster

Monday, October 14, 2013

Safflower Oil Reduces Cardio Disease Risk

A daily dose of safflower oil, a common cooking oil, for 16 weeks can improve good cholesterol levels, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and inflammation in obese postmenopausal women who have Type 2 diabetes, according to new research at Ohio State University.

The finding follows the discovery that safflower oil reduced abdominal fat and increased muscle tissue in the same group of women after 16 weeks of daily supplementation.

These findings led the chief researcher, Professor Martha Belury, to suggest that a daily dose of safflower oil in the diet – about 1 2/3 teaspoons – is a safe way to help reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Source: Ohio State University

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Six Cups of Joe Repels Prostate Cancer

New research findings published in the Annals of Oncology suggest that heavy coffee drinkers are less likely to develop cancerous tumors than those who drink none at all.

Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, followed nearly 45,000 men aged 45-79 over a 12-year period to see how many developed localized, advanced or fatal prostate cancer.

They found that men drinking six cups or more a day were 19 percent less like to fall victim to localized prostate cancer.

Beverage Supplies
Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention
Artwork: Fess Parker Drinking Coffee

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What a Stretch!

Xrays of the stomachs of competitive eaters demonstrate the organ's amazing ability to stretch and accommodate 60 hot dogs, according to Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach.

Artwork: Hot Dog Eating Champion T-Shirt

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chew on This Myth

Chewing food more and longer doesn't help the body digest nutrients more effectively than gulping it down, according to Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

180 Gallons a Year

One hundred and eighty gallons.  That's how much liquid the average American drinks each year. The question is: 180 gallons of what?

The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch offers the following figures for the year 2011.

Milk (22.9 gallons). Thirty percent less than in 1975.
Juice (5.17 gallons). Declining steadily.
Soft Drinks (44.15 gallons). Down 16 percent in a decade.
Bottled Water (26.27 gallons). Up 56 percent in a decade.

Continued in The Book Stall

Artwork: Drinking History
Source: MarketWatch

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coffee's Essential Ingredients

Coffee contains a number of compounds that contribute to the flavor and bioactivity of the brew. Complex reactions take place during roasting at high temperatures and modify considerably coffee's chemical composition, with some beneficial compounds degraded and some created. A small amount of harmful compounds is also created during roasting; however, the beneficial compounds appear to predominate.

To obtain a functional, healthy coffee, it is important to consider every aspect of coffee production, starting with high-quality seedsroasted to light-medium to dark-medium color degree, preferably a low to medium temperatures. Medium-roast coffees contain relatively high amounts of antioxidant compounds compared with other food products, a considerable amount of niacin, low acylamide content, and typically no PAHs.

Beverage Supplies
advertise with Coffee
Artwork: Coffee Beans on the Roasting Machine
Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention by Yi-Fang Chu

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Peanuts High in Fat, Nutrients and Health Benefits

Despite being high in fat, peanuts are still an excellent food choice because they provide a variety of important nutrients. They contain protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which all improve health and lower the risk of chronic disease.

In a study conducted with over 15,000 peanut consumers, it was determined that people who ate peanuts had higher levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and dietary fiber than people who did not eat peanuts.

Peanuts are high in arginine, an amino acid that is a precursor to nitric oxide, which helps decrease blood pressure. They contain resveratrol which improves longevity and performance as well as reduces inflammation. Peanuts also have phytosterols that work to lower cholesterol and may inhibit cancer development.

Research has shown that peanuts are able to decrease lipid levels and may reduce inflammation, which is a cause of chronic disease. And, researchers have also found that mortality decreases as the frequency of eating nuts like peanuts increases.

Nuts and Grains
advertise with Peanuts
Artwork: Virginia Peanut Seeds

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Coffee and Blood Pressure

Caffeine has long been accused of increasing blood pressure and possibly causing hypertension, but the comprehensive analysis of 16 control trials discussed in the article "Coffee and Cardiovascular Diseases" in Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention found that while caffeine definitely elevates blood pressure, the caffeine in brewed coffee has a less pronounced effect.

"The increase in blood  pressure produced by caffeine tablet ingestion was two to three times higher than that produced by regular coffee consumption despite equal mean doses of caffeine," the article reads.

Researchers suspect that something in coffee or the way it is prepared lessens the pressor effect of caffeine in its pure form.

"Taken together, these results show that coffee raises blood pressure acutely, but there is insufficient evidence to show that long-term coffee consumption causes hypertension," the authors conclude.

Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Coffee and Alzheimer's

"Coffee is only one component of the diet that may be preventative. Other studies support a role for the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals, and fish, and indicate the importance of physical activity in preventing or delaying cognitive decline with aging.

"Alzheimer's disease is not curable but is preventable... Given the high coffee consumption worldwide and the aging population in many countries, coffee's apparent ability to protect cognition could have important implications. It is too soon to make specific recommendations regarding the optimum amount of coffee to prevent cognitive loss, but moderate consumption appears best."

Wiley-Blackwell, 2012

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coffee is Life-Extending

Drinking coffee can not only boost your energy but also your longevity, as long as you don't smoke.

A National Institutes of Health study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that caffeinated and decaf coffee drinkers who did not smoke were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.

"In this large prospective study, coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality," reported Neal Freedman and fellow researchers at the NIH National Cancer Institute.

"During 5,148,760 person-years of follow-up between 1995 and 2008, a total of 33,731 men and 18,784 women died. In age-adjusted models, the risk of death was increased among coffee drinkers. However, coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, and, after adjustment for tobacco-smoking status and other potential confounders, there was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality."

Not only did the results show a clear association between coffee and longevity, but they also indicated people who drank the most coffee tended to have greatest health benefits.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Colour of the Cup Makes the Cocoa

New research suggests that hot chocolate tastes better in an orange or cream coloured cup than in a white or red one.

"The colour of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma," says Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain).

Piqueras-Fiszman and colleague Charles Spence of the University of Oxford conducted an experiment in which 57 volunteer participants evaluated samples of hot chocolate served in four different types of plastic cup. Each cup was the same size but of different colours: white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside.

Results of the experiment revealed that the flavour of chocolate served in orange or cream coloured cups was better for the tasting volunteers.

While the sweetness (not the flavour of the cocoa) and the aroma (the smell) were not influenced by the colour of the cup, the participants mentioned that the chocolate was slightly sweeter and more aromatic in a cream coloured cup.

"There is no fixed rule stating that flavour and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain colour or shade," says Piqueras-Fiszman. "But the truth is that, as this effect occurs, more attention should be paid to the colour of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine."

The results are relevant to scientists interested in understanding how the brain integrates visual information and to chefs, catering professionals and packagers who select the colour of crockery and packaging.

Cocoa and Hot Chocolate
Beverage Supplies

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Importance of a Local Catch

The average Spanish consumer prefers fish from Spain, according to a study published in the 'Food Quality and Preference' journal.

Scientists at the Institute for Research and Technology in Food and Agriculture (IRTA) interviewed nearly 900 consumers from nine Autonomous Communities (Andalusia, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Galicia, Madrid and Murcia) about their preferences when buying fish. Evaluated factors included the country of origin (Spain, Morocco and Norway), whether they were fished or farm-raised, their conservation method (fresh or frozen) and the price (6€/kg, 12€/kg and18€/kg).

The results reveal that the place of origin (Spain in this case) is the most important factor for consumers when buying fish. The statistical analyses outline that the relative importance of the country of origin stands at 42.96%, whereas the other three variables are less than half: 20.58% for storage conditions, 19.13% for price and 18.01% for whether the fish is wild or farm-raised.

Spain is the largest producer of fish in the European Union but in recent years its population has consumed less fish, especially seafood.  The nation has a longstanding tradition of fishing and its homeland products are considered to be fresher than their imported counterparts.

Photo: Cantabrian Hake

Seafood and Fish