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Infographic: The Nutrition Rainbow for Health

Have you ever heard eat the rainbow? This infographic digs into the nutrition rainbow and how the different color fruits and vegetables offer different health benefits. Fruits and vegetables are critical to eat because of their protective compounds. The saddest thing is that only 1 out of 10 U.S. adults are meeting their daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Check out this infographic for more details on the compounds in these different color fruits and vegetables. Enjoy!

nutrition rainbow fruits vegetables vitamins minerals plants nutrifusion infographic

 

Inspired by Dr. Neal Barnard

More Research Points to Botanicals as Important to Brain Health

There is growing evidence that associates a better cognitive function with the Mediterranean diet. In fact, different studies have identified plant extracts that can help maintain good brain health among older adults and these include resveratrol, Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monnieri, Theobroma cacao, ashwagandha, Crocus sativus, ginseng, curcumin, and rosemary. These plant extracts do delay not only the cognitive decline but also have protective effects against neurodegenerative disorders.

No Available Studies to Pin the Claim

While the botanical extracts have vast potential, research regarding their efficacy is still in its early stage, and even organizations that support complementary therapies have not yet endorsed the potential role of botanicals in improving cognitive health. The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) noted that no available and convincing evidence suggests that a particular supplement can prevent cognitive impairment particularly those that are associated with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Small Hints Found in Literature

Finding the exact mechanism and correlation still presents a challenge but the International Food Information Council noted that there are slight hints found in the literature regarding the links between food and brain health. The organization noted that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain. As such, promising plant extracts such as resveratrol, curcumin, and theobromine are not only good for the heart but also for the brain.

But this does not mean that this is the end of the line for plant extracts. It might take some time for companies who work with such ingredients to find the missing link to validate their claims for a reliable clinical result. Thus, the primary challenge for those working in the field of pharmaceuticals is to pin down on a particular measurable improvement among the human subjects so that the cause and effect can be proven.

 

Continuous Research Needed on Botanicals

Pharmaceutical companies have been working to pin down the mechanism of action of certain plant extracts. For instance, the company Evolva is looking at the potential of resveratrol to improve cognitive function. Working with the Brain, Performance, and Nutrition Research Center of Northumbria University in the UK, both organizations are working on how resveratrol influences the gut health concerning brain health.

On the other hand, other companies are working with other plant extracts. For instance, Ixoreal that sells both ashwagandha and curcumin supplements focus on the history and effects while, at the same time, undertake clinical trials to support their claims.

The research regarding the efficacy of plant extracts is paying off as it continues to attract the development of new products. While there is a rise in plant extracts used to promote better brain health, market researchers indicate that the growth of this niche is only 0.4%. Thus there are still many issues that should be addressed before this niche can reach its full market potential. Having said this, there is still more work to do by the researchers, food manufacturers, or pharmaceutical companies before products that can boost cognitive function will be favored in the market.

Inspired by www.ingredientsnetwork.com

The 13 Vitamins Essential for Survival

While many pharmaceutical companies stress the importance of taking vitamins and supplements, scientific evidence shows that you don’t need vitamins in pill form especially when you can get them from the food you eat.

A review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology noted that there are only 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function correctly. These vitamins are obtained from your diet. Curious about what these vitamins are? Read on below.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps to maintain healthy teeth, bones, skin, and mucous membrane. Get them dark green leafy vegetables, dark-colored fruits, egg yolks, liver, fish, and beef.

Vitamin B1

Also called thiamine, this converts carbohydrates into energy and helps regulate proper heart function. You can get them from lean meats, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and organ meats.

Vitamin B2

Riboflavin promotes the production of red blood cells. Moreover, it also helps other B vitamins to function properly. Get them from organ meats, eggs, milk, green vegetables, and whole grains.

Vitamin B3

Niacin helps maintain healthy nerve and skin cells. It can also help lower the cholesterol levels in the body. It can be sourced from avocado, fish, eggs, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, and poultry.

Vitamin B5

Pantothenic acid breaks down the food and helps the body produce hormone and cholesterol that your body needs to function correctly. You can get them from kale, avocado, legumes, mushrooms, organ meats, sweet potatoes, milk, and poultry.

Vitamin B6

Also called pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 helps in the production of red blood cells. It also helps maintain the brain function and with protein synthesis. Get them from meats, poultry, nuts, avocado, banana, legumes, and whole grains.

Vitamin B7

Biotin helps break down carbs and protein. It also helps with the production of hormones. Source them from egg yolks, nuts, legumes, pork, yeast, cereals, and chocolate.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for metabolism, and it helps with the production of red blood cells. It also lowers the levels of homocysteine that has damaging effects on the body. Source them from eggs, milk, organ meats, seafood and fortified foods. NutriFusion has found concentrated plant-based B12 that many companies are adding to their products as well.

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that promotes healthy gums and teeth. It also encourages the body for healthy wound healing. Source them from broccoli, cabbage, citrus fruits, spinach, berries, and tomatoes.

Vitamin D

This vitamin aids in the efficient absorption of Calcium. We get it from exposure to the sun for at least 15 minutes, but they can also be sourced from fatty fish, fish liver oil, and cereals.

Vitamin E

This vitamin helps in the production of red blood cells. It also helps the body use Vitamin K effectively. Get them from green leafy vegetables, avocado, papaya, seeds, nuts, wheat, and mango.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps promote bone health and clot the blood. Get them from green leafy vegetables, fish, beef, eggs, and liver.

Folate:

Folate works well with Vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells. It is also required for the production of DNA thus making it an essential vitamin for pregnant women. Source them from beans, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, peanut butter, wheat, and brewer’s yeast.

13 Vitamins Make The Difference to a Point

Intake of vitamins is significant to get your body’s physiological function running. But it is critical to take note that too many vitamins can cause toxic build-up in the body and too many antioxidants can lead to the development of certain cancers. Take your vitamins at adequate levels.

Inspired by www.popsci.com

New Food Pharmacies Filling Prescriptions for Fruits and Veggies

Reading Time: 3 minutes

According to a recent article in Mother Jones Magazine, there are a handful of food pharmacies popping up across the country. The food pharmacies are focused on recommended different fruits and vegetables to help those suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes. MJ reported that one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure and 7% of the population has diabetes, which is up from 4.4% in 2000 according to the CDC.

How are food pharmacies trying to help?

In San Francisco, Silver Avenue Family Health Center is combining the resources of a farmer’s market and food pantry. They are using nutritional advice to help reduce high blood pressure and diabetes in those typically suffering from “food insecurity.” Food insecurity is defined as lack of affordable, regular access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The food as medicine movement has been on the rise over the past 25 years as prescriptions, and other medical approaches have not resulted in lowering high blood pressure or diabetes for the masses. Nutritionists believe that food could be the answer and have long pointed out the medicinal benefits of different fruits and vegetables. For example, cherries bolster the immune system and strawberries for improving cardiac health.

Food Companies Looking for Ways to Add More Fruits & Veggies to Their Products

beyond meat nutrient blend grandfusion nutrifusion fruit veggie powder food pharmacies

As the food as medicine movement continues to grow, food companies are looking for an innovative way to add fruits and vegetables to their products. Beyond Meat has taken an interesting approach to creating all plant-based meats from vegetables as well as adding back the beneficial nutrients from those veggies through the GrandFusion vegetable blend.

Consumers are actively looking for convenient, better-for-you products with the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Smoothies, premium juices, single serve veggie meals, and more are catching the attention of millennials and baby boomers as they look for new options.

 

According to the CDC, We Still Have a Long Way to Go

While consumer demand for fresh produce may be increasing, the CDC reports alarming stats that adults in the U.S. are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Only 10% of all adults in the United States are eating enough fruits and vegetables every year. It will be interesting to see how we conquer this uphill battle of getting more people to eat more fruits and vegetables for their health.

Inspired by www.fooddive.com

The CDC Says Only 1 in 10 Adults Eat Enough Fruits or Vegetables

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Center for Disease Control released new research in November 2017 detailing the issues with adult fruit and vegetable consumption in 2015. The new study found that just 1 in 10 adults meet the U.S federal recommendations for fruits and vegetables. Depending on age and sex, the national guidelines recommend adults to eat at least 1.5 to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables.

A Closer Look at CDC Research

An average of only 9 percent of U.S. adults met the intake recommendations for vegetables in 2015; ranging from 6 percent in West Virginia to 12 percent in Alaska. An average of only 12 percent met their intake recommendations for fruit in 2015; ranging from 7 percent in West Virginia to 16 percent in Washington D.C. The overall results pointed to an alarming trend that consumption was lower among men, younger adults, and adults living in poverty.

“This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. As a result, we’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide.”

Seung Hee Lee Kwan, Ph.D
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Barriers to Increased Consumption of Fruits and Veggies

The CDC has indicated again as it has revealed in previous studies that there are significant barriers to consumption. They have found that high cost, limited availability, limited access, and perceived lack of cooking and preparation time are the top barriers stopping people from eating more. How can we can we fix these issues?

Strategies to Increase Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

my plate usda cdc fruits and vegetables nutrifusionIt’s understood that consuming fruits and veggies is critical to reducing your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity. The CDC developed a guide with strategies to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Here are a few:

  1. Start or expand farm to institution programs in childcare, schools, hospitals, and workplaces
  2. Improve access to retail stores and markets that sell high-quality fruits and veggies
  3. Ensure access to fruits and vegetables in cafeterias and other foodservice venues in worksites, hospitals, and universities

GrandFusion is Key to More Fruits and Vegetables in Your Processed Foods

NutriFusion has worked hard to create a nutrient-dense fruit and vegetable powder that stabilized and concentrates the natural vitamins and minerals. This is incredibly important to processed food manufacturers and brands. You are now able to add the nutritional equivalent to 2 servings of fruits and vegetables with pinky nail’s worth of powder. Interested in learning more about how GrandFusion can make your products healthier with essential micronutrients? Visit your industry-specific page to learn more.

 

Branded Produce Now Represents 38.5% of Total Produce Sales

Nielsen recently released a report that showcased the growth happening in the produce aisle. According to their report, branded produce dollar share grew by 7.7% between 2012 and 2016. Based on this kind of growth, it should be no surprise that branded produce is ripe for more sales.

Consumers are Choosing Branded Produce Over Their Non-Branded Equivalents

In just the last year, branded produce sales grew by 8% with unbranded equivalents’ sales decreasing by 8.6%. Consumers are not attracted to produce brands like traditional brands instead they emphasize the information that brands share on packaging like organic, non-GMO, vitamins, etc.

The branded produce snacks market has started to take off with items like hummus and carrots, guacamole cups, pre-made salads, etc. The category now represents $1.1 billion in sales with branded options controlling 72% of the market share.

Dole Partners With Disney to Sell to Kids

Everyone wants kids to eat healthier, but it is still the biggest challenge for parents and food manufacturers. Dole partnered with Disney to feature famous characters from Frozen, Star Wars, and more on their point of purchase displays and packaging. This has helped Dole sell healthier snacks to parents because their kids are putting the products in the cart.

Branding the Future of Fruits and Vegetables

Branded fruits and veggies have plenty of room to grow over the next ten years as more people engage in healthier lifestyles. Don’t expect a huge advertising spending spree from these brands, but look out for new packaging, labeling, and social media efforts to resonate with younger millennial shoppers.

Inspired by www.nielsen.com

Eat 10 Portions Of Fruits And Veggies To Protect Your Health

If you consume a lot of fruits and vegetables every day, then you are on the right track. Researchers from the Imperial College of London conducted a meta-analysis on 95 studies on the benefits of fruit and vegetable intake. Proponents of the study found that consumption of at least five portions of fruits and vegetables daily can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and cancer.

The greatest benefit of eating vegetables can be obtained by eating at least 800 grams a day that is equivalent to 10 portions of fruits and vegetables combined. The research was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. And the researchers have estimated that around 7.8 million of premature deaths recorded all over the world could have been potentially reduced if people ate more fruits and vegetables every day.

The Research

Part of the research also noted which types of produce can provide the best protection against different kinds of diseases. According to Dr. Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the study, the researchers wanted to quantify the amount of vegetables and fruits needed to reduce the risk of being sick. The study found that intake of more fruits and vegetables is associated with 33% reduction of stroke, 24% reduction of heart diseases, 28% reduction of cardiovascular diseases, and 13% reduction of cancer. The study also compared those who ate more vegetables to those who don’t.

Currently, the guideline in the UK is to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, only one in three adults can ever meet this target. This study aims to encourage people to increase their consumption.

portions of fruits and veggies at grocery

How Many Portions Should You Eat?

So how much is enough? One portion of fruits and vegetables is equivalent to 80 grams of produce.  But how do you know if you are eating one portion? In a practical sense, 80 grams of produce is equal to either of the following: a small banana, pear, apple, or orange. It can also be equivalent to three heaping tablespoons of peas, spinach, cauliflower or broccoli.

What is interesting about the research was that the proponents also examined which fruits and vegetables can reduce specific types of diseases. For instance, produce like pears, apples, salad greens, chicory, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages can mitigate the risk of early death while leafy green vegetables, carrots, and yellow vegetables can reduce the risk of developing cancer. While eating these certain fruits and vegetables look very promising in improving longevity, additional research should be conducted.

The Mechanism To Good Health

But why is eating fruits and vegetables very beneficial to the body? Dr. Aune noted that fresh fruit and vegetables have a complex network of nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins necessary for fighting against DNA damage and improving physiological functions. For instance, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbages contain glucosinolates that prevent cancer. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables can also improve the quality of the gut bacteria thereby improving your health.

There are so many reasons why you need to eat fruits and vegetables and having good health is a great way to encourage you to eat more.

Inspired by www.thegrocer.co.uk

Boost Your Mental Health With Fruits And Vegetables

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mental illness remains a significant public health disease, such that 25% of American adults suffer from it. What makes mental illness the serious problem is that it is also associated with other diseases like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

The extent of mental illness in the country is very alarming. With the advancements in medical science, you would think that mental illnesses would have decreased with the many interventions available for patients. But, no. The number of patients suffering from mental illnesses is still increasing.

Diet for Better Mental Health

Conventional treatments for mental illnesses include medications, psychotherapy, and group therapy. While these are compelling enough, most experts believe that aside from these conventional treatments, diet can play a crucial role in treating mental disorders.

Eating healthy foods does not only prevent metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity, but it can also bring benefits for mental health. A research study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand noted that increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables can improve the psychological health of individuals within two weeks.

Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Tamlin Conner, noted that young adults who were given more fruits and vegetables to consume for 14 days experienced a boost in their vitality and motivation. The study involved 171 students between 18 and 25 years old. The subjects were divided into three groups wherein one continued their normal eating pattern while the other group was given additional servings of fruits and vegetables. The last group received vouchers and were reminded through text messages to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The participants were also asked to undergo psychological assessments to assess their vitality, mood, and symptoms of mental illness. Participants who belong to the second group–those who consume more fruits and vegetables–experienced more improvements in their mental well-being. The effects were seen after just two weeks of consuming vegetables and fruits.

Types of Foods For Good Mental Health

Researchers noted that consuming at least three servings of fruits and vegetables daily can be beneficial to your mental health. But what happens to the body if you consume more fruits and vegetables? When you eat the right kinds of food, your body produces more serotonin, which is a hormone that regulates mood, sleep, and appetite. Serotonin is made in the digestive system thus feeding the good bacteria in your gut can help increase the serotonin.

People who eat foods with prebiotics (good bacteria) like leafy green vegetables can contribute to reducing levels of anxiety and improve the mental outlook. Aside from fruits and vegetables, it is also crucial for people to avoid certain types of foods such as white sugar, processed food, and refined ingredients. Vegetables and fruits are good, but you can increase your mental health if you also eat unadulterated and fermented foods.

A healthy diet can go a long way as it does not only help the body heal physically, but it also helps improve your mental health.

Inspired by food.ndtv.com