Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Best Sources for Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids have some serious health benefits. Besides being good for the cardiovascular system, they've been linked with decreasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (leading cause of blindness in older adults) as well as a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other types of age-related cognitive decline.

To increase the level of omega-3s in a diet, focus on fish. Here's how much omega-3 fatty acids are in 3-ounce (cooked) servings of:

Salmon, more than 1,900 milligrams.
Herring, nearly 1,900 milligrams.
Fresh bluefin tuna, about 1,400 milligrams.
Wild rainbow trout, about 1,000 milligrams.

Also, 3 ounces of white tuna canned in water and drained has 800 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. And, a 3.75-ounce can of sardines, canned in oil and drained, has about 1,400 milligrams.

Other types of fatty fish -- swordfish, tilefish (golden bass or golden snapper), shark and King mackerel -- are also very high in omega-3 fatty acids, but they also tend to be high in mercury.

Be aware, however, that it is possible to get too much omega-3. There's no standard recommendation on minimum or maximum amounts, but for people who already have heart disease the American Heart Association recommends 1,000 milligrams a day of the two main types of omega-3 fats found in fish, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexenoic acid). The third type of omega-3, ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), is found primarily in seeds and nuts.

Seafood and Fish
Artwork: Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets

Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Coffee Is Beneficial

Drinking coffee is "more likely to benefit health than to harm it," say British researchers who carried out an umbrella review of more than 200 clinical trials across all countries and all settings. They found that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of death and getting heart disease compared with drinking no coffee. Coffee drinking is also associated with lower risk of some cancers, diabetes, liver disease and dementia.

Coffee greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver. And, there seemed to be beneficial associations between coffee consumption and Parkinson's disease, depression and Alzheimer's disease.

There was less evidence for the effects of drinking decaffeinated coffee but it had similar benefits for a number of outcomes.

Source:The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal)

Coffee: Emerging Health Effects and Disease Prevention
Beverage Supplies
Artwork: Coffee Poster

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mushrooms Slow Aging

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have found that mushrooms are “without a doubt” the single biggest source of two antioxidants found to have anti-aging properties. The compounds, ergothioneine and glutathione, are present in a number of mushrooms, but some species have more than others. Wild porcini mushrooms have more tantioxidants “by far” than any other species tested, but common white button mushrooms are also beneficial.

The positive effects of the fungi remain even when cooked, fending off diseases associated with aging such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Source: Penn State

In Season
Here's How To... Grow Mushrooms
Artwork: Dried Porcini Mushrooms

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