Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Walnuts Good for Memory

Eating walnuts appears to improve performance on cognitive function tests, including those for memory, concentration and information processing speed according to research from the David Geffen School of Medicine at The University of California, Los Angeles.

The cross-sectional study analyzing cognitive data across multiple surveys found that cognitive function was consistently greater in adult participants that consumed walnuts regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.

Drawn from a large sampling of the U.S. population, ages 1 to 90 years old, the study found that those with higher walnut consumption performed significantly better on a series of six cognitive tests.

"It is exciting to see the strength of the evidence from this analysis supporting the previous results of animal studies that have shown the neuroprotective benefit from eating walnuts; and it's a realistic amount - less than a handful per day (13 grams)," noted the study's lead researcher, Dr. Lenore Arab.

In Season
Cultivar Walnuts Offer Income Potential
Source: The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging
Artwork: Raw Walnuts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Processing Depletes Cranberry Flavonols

Fresh whole cranberries contain high levels of flavonols, far more than most berries and more than most fruits or vegetables. But research by Agricultural Research Service scientists has revealed that nearly half of the total flavonol content of whole berries is left behind in the pomace - stems, skins, seeds, and pulp - left over when cranberries are pressed to make juice or canned products.

Flavonols are a class of polyphenols that includes, for example, quercetin and myricetin.

Cranberries are also known to be rich in fiber, and to provide vitamin C and potassium, both of which are essential nutrients.

In Season Guide to Cranberries
Source: ARS
Artwork: Cranberry

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mangoes Linked to Better Health

Recent human studies on mango consumption have found potential health benefits associated with the fruit, including improved blood pressure, blood sugar control, and gut health.

Scientists from Texas A&M University investigated the metabolic effects of daily consumption of freshly frozen mango pulp (400g) for six weeks in lean and obese subjects and the relationship between mango metabolites to Body Mass Index (BMI) and circulating biomarkers.

Researcgers from Oklahoma State University examined the post-prandial response of young, healthy males (18-25 years) following consumption of a typical American high-fat breakfast with or without a mango shake, which included 50g of mango pulp (equivalent to ~250g of fresh mango).

In a randomized pilot study, researchers from Texas A&M University investigated the potential role of mango consumption in changes of the gut microbiota, bioavailability of galloyl metabolites, and anti-inflammatory activities in lean and obese subjects.

"This emerging research shows promising outcomes on mango's potential to reduce the risk of metabolic disorders and chronic inflammation," said Leonardo Ortega, Director of Research at the National Mango Board.

Researchers from Texas A&M University examined the absorption, metabolism, and excretion of gallic acid, galloyl glycosides, and gallotannins in lean and obese individuals that consumed 400g of freshly frozen mango pulp daily for six weeks. The study's lead researcher, Susanne Mertens-Talcott, Ph.D. suggests that extended mango consumption may offer increased anti-inflammatory benefits compared to sporadic mango consumption and this would need to be confirmed within an extended efficacy study.

Farm Produce
Salmon Ceviche with Mango
Artwork: Mangoes

Friday, February 10, 2017

Choose Dark Chocolate for Valentine's Day

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a gift of dark chocolate and its heart-healthy advantages. Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can alter and weaken cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Research has found that flavanols, which are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate, have potential influences on vascular health, including lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.

Milk chocolate, on the other hand, doesn’t provide the same health benefits. Generally speaking, dark chocolate has more cocoa than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate also has fewer unhealthy sugars and saturated fats than milk chocolate. Researchers at Harvard University Medical School suggest choosing chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa or more.

Chocolate Guide
The Gift Shop
Artwork: Valentine's Day Gift Heart