People who have enjoyed milk products throughout their adult life may benefit from continuing their use in later years if severe lactose intolerance does not become a prohibitory factor.
We eat Phytonutrients every day… What are Phytonutrients?
There is ample evidence that a diet high in phytonutrient-rich plant foods is good for humans, let´s learn a bit about it.
Eating healthy is not a sacrifice anymore, thanks to fruits as oranges or fishes as tuna.
This is a list featuring the 50 healthiest meals that nobody should leave out for a better (and longer) life.
According to conventional wisdom, healthy eating means keeping your intake of saturated fats, salt, and sugar at a low level and eating enough vegetables, fruits and whole grains, correct? Generally, the answer is “yes”. But a branch of science called nutrigenomics tell us that genes sometimes influence how our bodies interact with certain nutrients, suggesting that tweaking our diet more precisely will do a better job of reducing the risk of disease.
The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how much and how fast can food increase the blood glucose levels.
A picture is worth a thousand words. As we can see in our everyday diet, more than half a kilo of carrots equals 200 kcals or a single hot dog, approximately.
Without getting in too much details about «each food nutritional composition», this comparison is overwhelming.
Do you still fancy some fast food?
Precooked noodles from Maggi multinational (a branch of Nestlé group) are the main focus of attention at India. Delhi’s Government has banned the product for 15 days after high levels of lead were found on it. Now other states are analyzing the product.
Once more, alerts of heavy metals contamination in food are the top news and have a great impact in big multinationals, such as Nestlé.
In 1990, the World Health Organization published some general recomendations according to which eating 400 gr of fruits and vegetables every day would help keep cardiovascular illnesses and some types of cancers away. This message, also known as 5 a day, had a huge impact on the media, but not on the citizens.
Almost 25 years after that recommendation, a group of English researchers has analyzed fruits and vegetables consupmtion to check how it is realted to death. Their data reinforce the health power of fruits and vegetables -specially the latter. However, they suggest that we shouldn’t stay at just five a day to get the benefits.
The authors, who published their investiagion at the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, pointed out that those who whad a lower risk of mortality for any illness were those who ate seven or more pieces of fruit and vegetables a day.
These scientists from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of the University College London analyzed their data coming from a population sample of 65,000 adults. Among other parameters, they took into account their socioeconomic details, their physical measures and exercise. Furthermore, they analyzed their fruits and vegetables consupmtion trough a quiz qhich measured what they had eaten on the former day.
After studying the death rate on this sample seven years after the beginning of their investigation, the researchers cross-matched their data looking for a link.
They found out a tight reverse link between the consupmtion of fruits and vegetables and the risk of dying for any probable cause. The higher the consuptiom, the stronger the protection.
More specifically, the maximum benefits were enjoyed with at least seven pieces a day, a pattern that showed a 42% lower risk of dyng for any cause (in cardiovascular ilnesses there was 31% decrease and in cancer a 25%).
According to the study results, vegetables meant more protection than fruits, although some other rigorous investigation, acknowledged by the researchers, reached a totally different conclusion.
A remarcable fact is that the possitive efects were only found in fresh or dried fruit. The frozen or canned fruit even had a contrary effect. Smoothies and juices didn’t have this protective effect either.
It is highlighted at a publisher that attends this study in BMJ magazine group that the data resulted from this work could finally change the 5 a day recommendation into a 7 a day. This is a difficult challenge, since statistics show that only one out of four English adults follow the foremost.
According to Miguel Ángel Martínez, professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University of Navarra (Spain), it is more realistic to keep up with the 5 a day consupmtion. However, this should be a minimum. Our limit should not be at eating just five pieces a day.
The professional agrees with the English authors on leaving out of the recommendation juices or processed fruits, since they could have a completely contrary effect.
Although the study is ‘interesting’ and is part of the huge scientific evidence that links fruits and vegetables consumption with a decrease in the death rate, this expert warns that its methodological limits should be taken into account.
On the one hand, the study did not consider the occurrence of the sickness -just the mortality. This means the study is really biased since there are other circumstances that intervene, such as the quality of the healthcare and the time waited to be attended by a doctor. Furthermore, the study have not considered diet pattern (the scientists only measured one day of consumption) which makes the results highly inaccurate.
José Ordovás, director of the laboratory of Nutrition and Genomics of de University of Tufts (USA), researcher and senior collaborator at the Spanish Center of Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) and scientific director at the Institute of Madrid of Upper Studies in Food (IMDEA), agrees with the latter. In his opinion, ‘the study just hammered in the head of a nail that was long ago well pulled in: the fact that a high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is really favourable. However, declaring that seven is the magic number and five is no loger viable would not be correct, considering the inaccuracy of the work data.’
What is more, for him, rising the minimum number of pieces of fruits and vegetables to 7, when most people of many countries does not even eat 3 a day can be disheartening and it could make most of them throw in or look for other alternatives.
The swordfish, dogfish, mussels and cockles are the fish and shellfishes species that hold the greatest quantity of toxic metals, such as mercury and lead.
This was determined by a study of the University of Granada (Spain) that also showed that the metal concentration of these species is below the admitted limits imposed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The department of Legal Medicine, Toxicology and Physical Anthropology of the University of Granada (Spain) has published in the Environment International magazine the most wide study done so far in Spain.
In total, they have analyzed the levels of the toxic metals (mercury, cadmium, tin and arsenic) in 485 samples from 43 different species of fish and shellfish. 25 of them were fresh fish, 12 were tinned fish and 6 were frozen fish.
The swai (traditionally considered one of the most contaminated species) and the frozen cod are, however, two types of fish that can be considered as safe to consume.
The investigation carried out by the University of Granada (Spain) revealed that the average concentration of mercury, cadmium, tin and arsenic (the most toxic metals, according to the Spanish Agency of Food Safety and Nutrition) that was found on the analyzed species is below the limits admitted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Only six out of the 485 analyzed samples (that is 1,24%) exceeded the maximum limits allowed, while 174 (36%) the levels of the toxic metals were even lower than the quantity that could be detected.
Out of the analyzed species, a18% came from Andalusia fishing grounds; a 42% from the rest of Spain; a 10% from Europe and a 30% from the rest of the world (since species such as frozen swais, perches or squids that we consume come from countries as Vietnam, Tanzania or Argentina, respectively).
Tips for fish consumption
The main author of this investigation, the professor of Toxicology from the University of Granada Fernando Gil Hernández, recommends, specially for pregnant women and kids, to diversify the consumption of fish and shellfish, and to avoid restraining the consumption of any other specie.
Similarly, the expert also points out that it is really important to consider the presence of selenium, an antioxidant that prevents cardiovascular illnesses, and that is really common in salmon and sardinesm which makes them very recommended species to consume. These fishes also have a really low quantity of mercury and a very notorious proportion of omega 3 fatty acids.
According to a study carried out by the University of Navarra (Spain), during the last ten years, the trans fats content in industrial pastry product has utterly decreased.
The team analyzed the trans-fatty acids in ensaimadas, creams, buns and croissants made by different brands (from white label to leading brands) and there was no difference found. What is more, the amount of trans fats in this type of products has decreased in the last decade: in 2000, the fatty acids content in pastry products was at 6,5% more or less, while in 2012 the researchers had found a 0,7% average of fatty acids.
Diana Ansorena, one of the research authors published in Food Chemistry magazine, explains that the recommendations set by national and international organisations to decrease the trans acids consume has led to the food industry changing its formulas to obtain healthier fats. Some researchs determined that overdoing in this type of fats raises the LDL choresterol (also know as ‘bad cholesterol’) and triglycerides, becomes a cardiovascular risk factor and enhances the risk of suffering from depresion.
The authors also insist in the importance of updating the food composition tables, since the information given some years ago do not show the real trans fatty-acids content in pastries product and overestimate the quantity of them that someone can eat.